On Jan. 5, the Indian Navy released some shots of its new flagship, INS Vikramaditya, a 40,000-ton 284 metres long and 60 mt high aircraft carrier.
On its way from Sevmash shipyard in North Russia, to Karwar on India’s western coast, the new aircraft carrier, accompanied by INS Trikand, a Talwar class frigate, INS Delhi, a Delhi class destroyer, and INS Deepak, the fleet tanker, has just entered Indian Navy’s Area of Operation in northwestern Arabian Sea where it met the rest of the Western Fleet, which includes the smaller aircraft carrier INS Viraat, two Delhi class destroyers, three Trishul class stealth frigates, a Godavari class frigate and a couple of offshore vessels.
In other words, few days after Beijing released the images of their first CBG, the Indian Navy has staged an impressive show of force consisting of several warships (and few Sea Harriers that appear in some photos) escorting the new carrier to its new homeport. Unlike the Chinese one, the Indian armada comprises some support units that made the very long journey possible: a sign that, unlike China, India is already capable to project naval power on long distances?
Vikramaditya is a Kiew-class aircraft carrier dating back to 1987, when it was a part of the Soviet Navy under the name of Baku. In 1996, it was decommisioned and the Indian Navy purchased the vessel in 2004 at an aggregate price of 2,3 billion USD.
The ship is expected to accomodate 30 Mig-29Ks; Russian Fulcrums have conducted extensive testing on the refurbished aircraft carrier before the ship was trasferred to India.
The new carrier will soon be joined by India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, expected to be commissioned at Kochi in 2018-2019.
Noteworthy, Indian aircraft carriers will be supported and defended from enemy submarines by eight P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
Image credit: Indian Navy