PUNE: The integration of aircraft with the recently commissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is likely to be finished by May or June of next year, said Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar on Wednesday.
The carrier was commissioned once the sea-going trials were completed. After observing the Passing Out Parade of the 143rd course of the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla in Maharashtra's Pune area, he informed media that the aircraft integration trials had already begun.
"The aircraft landing mechanism is the first item we need to evaluate. These experiments are still ongoing. The integration of the aircraft typically takes six to eight months from the time of commissioning. In order to complete it before the monsoon by May or June," he said.
On the induction of the first batch of women cadets in the NDA, he said, "Our forces are open to all. Combat services are already provided by women. In the armed forces, including the Navy, there are female officers." He called the Navy's decision to begin enlisting female sailors a historic accomplishment.
The Navy head said, "This year, we had 3,000 openings for sailors, and we received 10 lakh applications, including 82,000 from women."
Admiral Kumar said when asked about the Navy's modernization strategy, "The Indian Navy is on a modernization programme. In 1960, we commissioned our very first tiny ship. Since then, we have been building larger and larger ships. After that, we began constructing aircraft carriers, culminators, and destroyers. Furthermore, the (newest) aircraft carrier is 76% indigenous, which is a fantastic accomplishment for the country.
29 ships and submarines made in India over the past seven years have been put into service, he said.
"Out of the 45 ships we are building, 43 are being done so in India. We are in the process of accepting the need for an additional 49 ships. As a result, the modernization plan is receiving a lot of attention, and the government is helping us. The project is going as planned," he added.