Aircraft Carrier INS VikramadityaSlideShow | Thumbnails
Defence Minister Shri AK Antony will be commissioning Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier ‘Vikramaditya’ at Severodvinsk in the Russian Federation. During the formal ceremony the Russian and Indian sides will sign the certificate of delivery-acceptance transferring the aircraft carrier to the Indian crew and the Indian Navy’s flag will be hoisted on board the ship. The certificate of delivery-acceptance will be signed by aircraft carrier commander Commodore Suraj Berry on behalf of the Indian side and by Deputy General Director of Rosoboronexport (part of Rostec State Corporation) Igor Sevastyanov on behalf of the Russian side. At the time of attaining our Independence our visionary leaders saw the centrality of a powerful Navy and set us on the right course by envisaging an Indian Navy centred on aircraft carriers for sea control in our expansive areas of maritime interest. INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier was acquired from Great Britain and commissioned on 04 Mar 1961. INS Vikrant was a Majestic class CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take Off but Arrested Recovery) carrier and operated Sea Hawk fighters, Alize (Anti-Submarine Warfare) aircraft and Seaking helicopters. Consistent with its vision, India next acquired HMS Hermes, a Centaur class STOVL carrier and a veteran of the Falkland War. INS Viraat was commissioned on 12 May 1987 as India’s second aircraft carrier and India’s first STOVL carrier operating the Sea Harrier aircraft. Soon after the acquisition of INS Viraat, INS Vikrant was also converted from a CATOBAR carrier to a STOVL (Short Take-off and Vertical Landing) carrier. INS Vikrant was decommissioned on 31 Jan 1997, after 36 years of glorious service under the Indian ensign. For almost a decade India had two aircraft carriers and the Indian Navy was fully cognisant of the criticality of having an aircraft carrier available for deployment on each seaboard to fulfil the Navy’s assigned tasks. In recognition of the importance of aircraft carriers, the Indian Navy had already started exploring the possibility of indigenously designing and constructing an Aircraft Carrier, this project took off in right earnest in the late 90s as the Air Defence Ship was conceived. However, given the long gestation period of such projects, the search for a replacement for INS Vikrant gained momentum as its decommissioning drew closer. It was at this juncture that Russia offered Admiral Gorshkov to the Indian Navy. Negotiations over acquiring the 44,500 ton Admiral Gorshkov started in 1994. Various high level delegations who had assessed the ship had independently concluded that the ship’s hull was in good material state and would be worth considering for exploitation in the Indian Navy with a suitable mix of aircraft.