KOCHI: Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command (SNC), said here on Wednesday that the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier — INS Vikrant — will be commissioned by early 2022. The sea trials are expected to begin in 2021. The Cochin Shipyard Limited and the Indian Navy had completed the Basin Trials of the aircraft carrier.Vice Admiral Chawla said, “Vikrant should commence the sea trials by the first half of next year. The machinery trials are just a small part of the trials of a ship. Its worthiness is dependent upon proving the flight operations on board the ship. A number of other formalities are also there before the ship will be commissioned,” he told reporters.
The SNC chief also expressed preparedness in dealing with threats from adversaries amid the current tension between India and China.“We are concentrating on further building our strengths including force levels, operational capabilities, human resources and partnerships. The present situation has given us added impetus and I don’t think they will create any mischief on the sea if we remain strong and prepared,” Chawla said.
The vice admiral also stressed upon the growing importance of anti-submarine warfare in the Indian Navy, which is planning to acquire a submarine of the Scorpene class before the end of this month. The navy will also be procuring multi-role helicopters (MRH) from the United States to strengthen its anti-submarine warfare capabilities.“We have recently acquired a maritime reconnaissance and anti surveying warfare aircraft which has enhanced our capability for anti-submarine warfare to a great extent. Our ships are also equipped with sonars,” he said.
The threat from sophisticated submarines has forced the Indian Navy to improve its own capabilities.
Highlighting the rapid increase in drug captures over the past few years, Chawla said operations centred at the naval base in Kochi, in coordination with all other agencies, are being carried out to curb the menace.
“Currently, fishing boats don’t have reporting systems on board. We are collaborating with ISRO and state government to solve this.
The installation of the same in all fishing boats will also enhance the safety of fishermen during disasters,” he said.The Navy is striving to strengthen security at fishing harbours and fish landing centres and are educating fishermen to report any suspicious activity on the seas, Vice Admiral Chawla added.