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INS Vikramaditya (R33)

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The INS Vikramaditya (R23) at sea on November 16, 2013.
INS Vikramaditya (R23) (Sanskrit: विक्रमादित्य, Vikramāditya) is the name of an aircraft carrier set to enter service with the Indian Navy in 2013. It has been converted from the former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. The ship has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary 1st century BC emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity.

The Vikramaditya was originally the modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier Baku built in 1978–1982 at Black Sea Shipyard, Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The ship is presently being extensively refitted at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia.

In March 2013, the Vikramaditya was formally commissioned into the Indian Navy and its first deployment occurred in May that same year. In September, the Vikramaditya was involved in launching air strikes on Pakistan.

Specifications[edit]

  • Type: Aircraft Carrier
  • Service Period: 2013-
  • Characteristics:
    • Length: 932 feet (284.07 meters)
    • Beam: 200 feet (60.96 meters)
    • Draft: 33 feet (10.06 meters)
    • Displacement: 45,400 tons
  • Crew: 1,680
  • Installed Power:
  • Propulsion: 8 turbopressurized boilers, 4 geared steam turbines, 4 shafts, 180,000 shp (134,226 kW)
  • Range: 13,500 miles (21,726.1 km) at 18 knots (33.34 km/hr)
  • Speed: 32 knots (59.27 km/hr)
  • Sensor Suite:
    • Long range Air Surveillance Radars
    • LESORUB-E
    • Resistor-E radar complex
    • CCS MK.2 communication complex
    • Link II tactical data system
  • Armament:
    • AK-630 CIWS
    • Barak 8 LRSAM
  • Aircraft Carried: 40 aircraft including Mikoyan MiG-29K, Yakovlev Yak-141, Kamov Ka-28 ASW Helicopters, and Kamov Ka-31 AEW Helicopters
  • Aviation Facilities: Two acre flight deck, 14.3º ski-jump ramp, 3 x 30m wide arrester gears and three restraining gears

History[edit]

After commissioning, the carrier began a continuous 26-day journey of 10,212 nautical miles (18,913 kilometers) to its home-port at INS Kadamba, Karwar, from Severodvinsk on March 27th 2013, with a short stopover in Lisbon. It was under the command of Commodore Suraj Berry, who was her first Indian captain. Apart from her Indian crew, she also carried 177 Russian specialists from Sevmash, who will remain on board for one year, as part of the 20-year post-warranty services contract with the shipyard. During the journey, it encountered a storm in the Barents Sea where she linked up with her escorts frigate INS Trikand and fleet tanker INS Deepak. The group was escorted by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth while passing through the English Channel, and was joined by destroyer Delhi near Gibraltar. The flotilla sailed in the Mediterranean sea, crossed the Suez Canal and entered the Arabian Sea near the Gulf of Aden on May 1st, 2013. It was received nearly 1,200 nautical miles (2,22 kilometers) away from Indian shores by a large flotilla of the Western fleet. After conducting basic sea exercises with the fleet, Vikramaditya reached Karwar on May 7th 2013.

Navy pilots of INAS 303 "Black Panthers" operating the MiG-29K practiced carrier operations at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) in INS Hansa, Dabolim, Vasco-da-Gama. The first aircraft piloted by an Indian Navy pilot landed on the carrier on June 8th, 2013. Since then, the pilots and air controllers have been certified for operating the MiG-29K fighters from the carrier deck, including night landings. The carrier's air wing will consist of sixteen MiG-29Ks including four KUB trainers, six airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) Kamov Ka-31 and Kamov Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters.

In September 2013, the carrier was declared operationally deployed along with its embarked air group comprising MiG-29Ks and had taken part in a war game conducted by the Western Naval Command. On October 14th, 2013, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi dedicated the carrier to the country.

In April 2014, MiG-29Ks from Vikramaditya attempted to make a surprise flyover over the city of Perth, Australia. RAAF F-15 Eagles and F-19 Crossbows scrambled to intercept them, while destroyer Hobart and frigates Stuart and Broken Hill raced out to meet the Indian fleet.

December 8th, 2015, Indian Defence-Ministry sources stated that the INS Vikramaditya would receive its first major overhaul in September 2016 as part of the "Make In India" initiative. The state-owned Cochin Shipyards and the Pipavav shipyards will overhaul the carrier once it is in dry dock.

On January 21st-22nd 2016, Vikramaditya accompanied by destroyer Kolkata made her first overseas port visit when the ship visited Colombo in Sri Lanka, making the first visit of an Indian warship to the city in 30 years, and the first by an aircraft carrier in more than 40 years.

On June 10th 2016, while undergoing a scheduled major refit of INS Vikramaditya, two people were killed by a toxic gas leak that occurred during maintenance work in the Sewage Treatment Plant compartment of Vikramaditya at Karwar. Two other people were injured and taken to the naval hospital.

In September 2016, Vikramaditya was dry-docked in Kochi for a month-long refit by Cochin Shipyards; the refit was completed in November, a month ahead of schedule.

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