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India’s indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, is on track to achieve full operational status by the end of this year. The carrier has recently been equipped with the Israeli EL/M-2248 MF-STAR multi-function active electronically scanned array radar and 32 Israeli-origin Barak-8 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM), manufactured in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)-Elta by Bharat Dynamics Limited.

To become fully operational, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the builder of INS Vikrant, must complete the installation of the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) system and the MF-STAR radar by next month. This will allow the carrier to undergo testing and be cleared for official operational duties by the end of the year. The installation process typically takes 45-60 days, and the ship needs to be brought into dry dock for these final preparations.

The LR-SAM is a joint development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited. The MF-STAR radar, also manufactured by IAI, is already in service on other frontline warships of the Indian Navy.

INS Vikrant, commissioned into the Navy on September 2, has successfully undergone five sets of sea trials since August 2021. However, aviation trials are yet to be carried out post-commissioning, marking another critical milestone in the carrier’s path to full operational capability.

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