India has one of the largest navies in the world and is likely to be on the list of top 5 powerful navies in the world, by 2030.
What is it that makes Indian Navy such a formidable and mighty force? Let’s have a look at the aircraft carriers that make up the lion’s share of the Indian Navy.
THE INDIAN AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
An aircraft carrier is a warship, serving as an “airbase on sea”, equipped with flight deck facilities for carrying, arming, deploying and recovering aircraft.
India is among of the 8 countries in the world that have working aircraft carriers currently in service. India has one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya which is currently in service.
INS VIKRANT(R11) – INDIA’S FIRST MOMENT OF PRIDE
It is Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier. Originally built as HMS Hercules for the Royal Navy during World War 2, this Majestic class aircraft carrier wasn’t completed and never entered British Service.
India purchased this incomplete carrier from the UK in 1957 and consequently renamed it “INS Vikrant”. She played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
She was decommissioned in January 1997 and from 1997 to 2012, she was preserved as a museum ship in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai. In January 2014, the ship was sold through an online auction and scrapped in November 2014. The scrap has been used to manufacture bikes.
INS VIKRANT- INDIA’S QUANTUM LEAP IN DESIGNING THE FIRST OF INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
For the first time in Indian maritime history, India is designing and building its own aircraft carriers. INS Vikrant( which means “Stepping Beyond” in Sanskrit) is a class of Indigenous Aircraft Carriers being built for the Indian Navy by Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi. We are expecting the lead vessel of this class, INS Vikrant, to be commissioned by the end of 2018. It will be the first aircraft carrier to be designed and built in India.
INS VIRAAT- THE BATTLE-HARDENED VETERAN
- India is also the proud owner of INS Viraat, a Centaur class carrier which was in service in India for 30 years(1987-2016). She had spent a total of 2250 days at sea and had steamed a total of 10, 94, 215 km at
- Initially completed and commissioned in 1959 as the British Royal Navy’s HMS Hermes, she served in the Royal Navy for 25 years and is a major contributor as a flagship for Royal Navy’s task force in Falklands campaign.
- She underwent extensive refit and was sold to India in 1987 following which, she was renamed INS Viraat.
- She got decommissioned on March 6, 2017 and holds the Guinness world record as the longest serving aircraft carrier in the world.
INS VIKRAMADITYA- THE VALIANT BLUE WATER WARRIOR OF THE SEA AND INDIA’S PRIDE
- INS Vikramaditya( which means “Brave as the Sun”) in Sanskrit is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier which entered into service with the Indian Navy in 2013.
- Originally built as “Baku” and commissioned in 1987, the carrier served with the Soviet Navy and later with the Russian Navy(as Admiral Gorshkov) before being decommissioned in 1996.
- She was purchased by India in 2004, after a series of long negotiations, for a whopping 15,000 crore Rs and was formally inducted into the Indian Navy on 14 June 2014.
Here are some interesting facts about this beauty:
LOFTY STRUCTURE: It is an imposing giant standing at a length of 930 ft and has a speed of over 56 km/hr(30 knots). It is capable of carrying a maximum of 36 aircrafts at a time. It’s home port is INS Kadamba naval base in Karwar coast.
AUTOMATED DOSA AND IDLI MAKING TECHNOLOGY: This sounds hilarious right? There are six dosa-making machines and three idli-making machines onboard the Vikramaditya. The machines can churn out 400 dosas and 1,000 idlis per hour. The navy guys are surely in for a sumptuous feast! 😉
STOBAR SYSTEM: It is the first Indian aircraft carrier of the STOBAR(Short Take – Off But Arrested Recovery) category which refers to the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
DISASTER RELIEF: Vikramaditya also hosts a variety of soft-power assets such as hospital ships, survey vessels, and humanitarian relief & disaster relief (HADR) platforms to deal with any natural calamity such as tsunami, earthquake etc.
MIKOYAN MiG – 29K ON BOARD: The induction of up to 24 MiG – 29K fighters in Vikramaditya provided a significant boost to the maritime reconnaissance range of the Indian Navy. The MiG provides airborne fleet air defense and surface attack capabilities. They are also equipped with lethal BVR(Beyond Visual Range) and anti- ship missiles.
BARAK MISSILES: INS Vikramaditya lacks its own air defence missile system such as an onboard close-in-weapon-system (CIWS) and long-range SAMS (Surface-to-air missiles). However, Indian Navy has decided to put Barak missiles on the carrier for protection against aerial attacks.
There are other commendable feats of the Indian Navy as well, in the form of
- 11 destroyers
- 14 frigates
- 23 corvettes
- 27 patrol vessels
- 13 conventionally- powered attack submarines
- 1 nuclear-powered attack submarine
- 8 landing ship tanks
- 1 ballistic missile submarine
- 4 fleet tankers
- 6 mine countermeasure vessels
Looking at these statistics, any nation would have to think twice before considering messing with India.
Hat’s Off to the Indian Navy!!
Image Credits: asia_carriers, INS_Vikrant, INS_Viraat MiGs_on_board, Vikramaditya_specs,Pinterest