India’s largest ever warship – the INS Vikramaditya – has been finally commissioned into Indian Navy after a nine year refit and refurbish programme at the North Russian shipyard of Sevmash at Severodvinsk.
- The ship, expected to reach India by the end of January 2014, is supposed to sail through three oceans and several seas to its home Karwar naval base, Karnataka (India).
- The 284-metre long carrier is to be flanked by the frigate INS Trikhand and fleet tanker INS Deepak on its way home. Both will join the warship at the Northwest Russian port of Murmansk.
- INS Vikramaditya is a Kiev class aircraft carrier which was initially commissioned by Russian Navy in 1987 under the name Baku.
- It was later renamed as Admiral Gorshkov and last sailed in 1995 in Russia before being given to India.
- The warship, decommissioned by Russia due to rising operational cost, was finally awarded to India in 2004 after years of negotiation at a final price of $2.35 billion.
- The carrier comes fitted with a state-of-the-art combat management system like advanced electronic warfare suite, automated system for air traffic control, futuristic radio and electronic reconnaissance system and landing support system.
- The 44,500 tonne INS Vikramaditya can carry 30 aircraft including MiG-29Ks and Ka-28 anti-submarine helicopters.
- It makes India only the 4th country in the world after the US, UK and Italy to operate more than one carrier (other being INS Viraat).
- The warship has been handed over to India five years later than the original date of delivery and at a higher, renegotiated cost, Its still far from a serviceable platform at the moment and would take at least two years to be ready for full-scale operational deployment.
- It will also be fitted with surface-to-air missile (SAM) and close-in weapon system (CIWS) for defence against aerial attack in that period