In January 2014, the Indian Navy welcomed the arrival of its largest aircraft carrier – INS Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya boosted the Indian Navy’s aspiration to become a blue-water navy. This megaton warrior is currently operational securing Indian Coast from all threats.
INS Vikramaditya is the only Aircraft Carrier serving with Indian Navy after INS Viraat was decommissioned on 6th March 2017.
In the summer of 2012, it was making headlines because of NATO spying operation over it during the trials in Russian territory of Barents Sea
Very few people apart from defence analysts know about the capabilities of this beastly beauty. So, let us get some sneak-peak into the aircraft’s dossier.
21 Surprising Facts about INS Vikramaditya:
1. The Acquisition
Negotiations with Russian government were started way back in the year 1994 to acquire Admiral Gorshkov.
INS Vikramaditya is a modified version of Russian Kiev-class aircraft carrier with a code name R33. This aircraft carrier has gone through extensive refit and modernization process prior to its scheduled delivery.
3. Super Strong
Admiral Gorshkov has been renamed by the Indian Navy in the honour of the legendary first BC emperor of Ujjain, Vikramaditya. The name literally translates as “Strong as the Sun.”
4. And Costly, too
This 44,500 Metric tonne aircraft carrier is procured at a cost of over INR 15,000 crore ($ 2.3 bn).
5. The Giant In India
Standing at a tall length of 930 ft (284 meters), INS Vikramaditya has 22 decks. This mega structure of steel is similar to stretching as much as three football fields together (300m). About 40% of the carrier is original to Gorshkov and rest of it is retrofitted and upgraded to meet military standards.
6. Fast Beast
Installed power of 18 MWe (megawatt electrical) provides this aircraft carrier with the speed of over 56 km/hr (30 Knots).
It is capable of carrying a maximum of 36 aircraft’s at a time, which includes the superior machines like MiG-29K multi-role fighters and Kamov Ka-31 Helix AEW&C Helicopters.
8. When Vikramaditya Rests
It makes use of three arrester wires to aid pilots for landing on the carrier after routine sorties of MiG 29-K fighter jet fleet. While resting at its home berth at the INS Kadamba naval base in Karwar coast, Vikramaditya requires 3 fifty-Tonne BP (Bollard Pull) Stern Drive Tugs.
9. Defending Itself
It has the capacity to host six Ka-31 and Ka-28 helicopters. Kamov Ka-31 is responsible for performing the role of Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system for INS Vikramaditya.
10. Destroyer on Sea
Kamov Ka-28 is anti-submarine warfare helicopter which is deployed on INS Vikramaditya to destroy enemy submarines.
Vikramaditya is capable of launching Aircraft without Catapult unlike in US Aircraft Carriers. This type of launching and recovering of Aircraft is called Short Takeoff but Arrested landing (STOBAR). In this procedure, the aircraft lines up with the ski ramp and opens full throttle while applying brakes at the same time.when the throttle is completely open, the pilot releases the brakes and Aircraft Takes off with the help of Ski ramp.
12. Fully Equipped to Tackle Anyone
INS Vikramaditya has the capability to operate both in offensive and defensive modes. It has been equipped with hard power assets which always escort the carrier such as frigates, missile boats and attack submarines that can change the outcome of a maritime conflict.
13. Disaster Relief
Not only Vikramaditya is heavily armed, but it also hosts a variety of soft-power assets such as a fully equipped hospital, survey systems and can also serve as humanitarian relief & disaster relief (HADR) platforms to deal with any natural calamity such as tsunami, earthquake etc.
14. Russians on Board
When the Carrier was just handed over to the Navy back in 2014, 183 Russian personnel’s were onboard the ship helping the 1600-odd Indian sailors to operate this active aircraft. They were also assigned with the task to train the officers of Indian side about the various strategies and operational tactics of R33.
15. Feeding a Giant
With over 1600 personnel on board, Vikramaditya carries a mammoth logistics amounting to nearly a lakh of eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice, every month.
16. Maritime Reconnaissance Range
The induction of MiG-29 K in Vikramaditya has provided a significant boost to the maritime reconnaissance range of Indian Navy. They’re also equipped with lethal BVR (beyond visual range) and anti-ship missiles.
17. MiG-29 K
Indian Navy is first in the world to operate these twin-engine all-weather multirole fighter aircraft. India has ordered 45 of these aircraft in a multi-billion-dollar deal with Russia.
18. Barak Missiles
INS Vikramaditya lacks its own air defence missile system such as an onboard close-in-weapon-system (CIWS) and long-range SAM’s (Surface-to-air missiles). However, Indian Navy has decided to put Barak missiles on the carrier for protection against aerial attacks. The Carrier will be armed with Barak 8 Missiles in 2017 when it undergoes a major refit.
19. Late Arrival
The warship has been inducted after an almost delay of five years and a cost over–run near to 1 bn USD.
20. Strongest Among All
Similar to the great Indian King Vikramaditya, this blue water warrior is the most potent aircraft carrier with its onboard weapon strength, surveillance features and operational agility.
21. ATM equipped Carrier
On January 21, 2017, An SBI ATM Machine was installed onboard INS Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya became the first Indian Ship to be equipped with ATM.