India’s largest aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, currently en route from Russia to India, is going to enter Indian waters in three weeks, Indian media sources claim.
The long-awaited warship, worth $2.3 billion, departed Russia’s Sevmash shipyard in November and is expected to reach her homeport INS Kadamba, Karwar at the end of January.
Apart from her Indian crew, she is also carrying 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.
Following successful sea trials in July 2013 and aviation trials in September 2013 the carrier began her long journey to her new home of India escorted by auxiliary INS Deepak and Talwar class frigate INS Trikand.
The UK frigate HMS Monmouth met up with the newest Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and helped her safely through the busy English Channel on December 17th. The aircraft carrier was headed next to Lisbon, steaming her way toward Karwar via Gibraltar and the Suez Canal, where the flotilla will be joined by more naval ships for escort.
The contract for modernization of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (renamed into INS Vikramaditya) for Indian Navy was tied in 2004. Initially, the ship has been planned to join the Indian Navy in 2008, nevertheless various construction hiccups pushed the delivery date for late 2013.
The former Admiral Gorshkov from Russia was subjected to a major make-over and a comprehensive change in its structural design in 2004 to become INS Vikramaditya. When delivered, the INS Vikramaditya will be a 90-per cent new ship, with expected service life of 40 years.
The 284 metre-long and 60-metre-high INS Vikramaditya has a displacement of 45,000 tons, and an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) reaching a speed in excess of 30 knots.
The aircraft carrier will feature 24 Mikoyan MiG-29K fighter jets, including 10 helicopters.
Naval Today Staff, January 2, 2014; Image: Wikimedia