The Indian Navy is the 4th largest navy in the world. The Indian Peninsula is one of the busiest trading routes in the 21st Century.
India is surrounded by difficult neighbors. To counter such, the Indian Navy occupies a very strategic location in the Indian Ocean by which it can block important access to countries such as China.
To compete toe to toe, the Indian Navy acquired INS Vikramaditya which was commissioned in November 2013. Let’s read about the aircraft carrier which is at western command.
INS Vikramaditya: Indian Naval Aircraft Carrier
INS Vikramaditya is the largest aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. It is a STOBAR (Short Take Off But Assisted Recovery) carrier. The STOBAR is a system of launching and recovering the aircraft by combining the technology of SVTOL (Short Takeoff Vertical Landing) and CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Takeoff But Arrested Recovery).
INS Vikramaditya was converted from Russian Navy’s aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov which was originally built from Ukrainian Warship, Baku. Baku served till 1991. Admiral Gorshkov served till 1996.
Ukrainian warship Baku
The deal between India & Russia was signed in the year 2004 when India felt a dire need of an aircraft carrier with its retiring INS Viraat.
Project background and details
- The major reason for decommissioning in 1996 was because it was too expensive to operate on a post-Cold War budget. This engrossed the consideration of India, which was looking for a way to increase its carrier aviation abilities.
- The modernized warship was initially scheduled to be delivered by August 2008 but was delayed due to cost overruns. The issue with the delays was furthered by ongoing vast cost overruns, ultimately which resulted in high-level diplomatic exchanges.
- In the end, India has to pay a further of US$1.2 billion for the project, more than double the original cost. However, ongoing delays with the INS Vikramaditya delivery schedule pushed the delivery to 2013.
Design and Features:
- The refurbished INS Vikramaditya is equipped with 234 new hull sections constructed using 2,500 tonnes of steel. It has an overall length of 284m, the height of about 60 m and a displacement of 44,500 tonnes.
- The warship features 22 decks and 2,500 compartments, of which 1,750 are completely re-built. Sponsons are mounted to surge the breadth at the flight deck.
- The updated ship is also armed with flight deck lighting systems, new AC plants, chilling plants, 14° sky jump, 30m wide arrester gears, three restrictive gears, and two RO plants for production of 400 tonnes of fresh water per day.
- The modifications also included replacement of 2,300 km of old electrical cables with new cables, which is equal to half of the length of the total coastline of India.
It is a floating city with over 1,800 personnel on board. The logistics requirements of such a large crew are also massive. It is estimated that every month, the ship and its crew requires nearly a lakh of eggs, 20,000 liters of milk and 16 tonnes of rice per month. If fully kept up, the carrier can sail for 45 days and has the ability to carry on operations up to a range of over 13000 km.
The ships power generation and distribution section sustain 12 generators which yield 18 MW power that can sustain 100 villages of their electricity needs.
INS Viraat (R-22) Vs INS Vikramaditya (R-33):
INS Viraat was a Centaur class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy that served for nearly 30 years in the Indian Navy. It is named as ‘Grand Old Lady’.
INS Vikramaditya (R-33) is a significant upgrade over INS Viraat as it uses Ski-jump technology instead of CATOBAR due to which it is cost-efficient.
Installation of Ski-Jump on INS Vikramaditya
INS Viraat (R-22)
INS Vikramaditya (R-33)
28 Knots (52 Km/h)
30 Knots (56 Km/h)
The ship has the capability to transport 36 aircraft comprising a range of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. Due to these, it has earned its motto “Strike far Strike Sure”.
It also has a modern communication complex and tactical data system that allows it to be fully integrated with the Indian Navy’s network-centric operations.
The INS Vikramaditya embodies a major increase in the volume of the Indian Navy for the projection of power in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The INS Vikramaditya could empower India to play a meaningfully more complex and dynamic role as a maritime security player in the region.
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