INS Vikramaditya is the Indian Navy’s largest short take-off, but assisted recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier and warship converted from the Russian Navy’s decommissioned Admiral Gorshkov vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) missile cruiser carrier. INS Vikramaditya was commissioned into service in November 2013.
The warship has been extensively refurbished with new propulsion systems, hull sections, sensors and flight deck. It was operationally deployed with full complement of MiG-29 aircraft in May 2014.
The vessel can carry more than 30 long-range multi-role fighters with anti-ship missiles, air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets. The aircraft aboard the carrier include MiG 29K / Sea Harrier combat aircraft, Kamov 31 radar picket Airborne Early Warning (AEW) helicopter, Kamov 28 naval helicopter, Sea King helicopter, ALH-Dhruv, and Chetak helicopter.
INS Vikramaditya project background and details
India entered into negotiations with Russia for the acquisition of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier in 1994 and signed a memorandum of understanding in December 1998. The Union Government of India and the Federation of Russia signed an inter-governmental agreement for the acquisition in October 2000.
In January 2004, India signed a $1.5bn deal with Russia for the modernisation of Admiral Gorshkov and delivery of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and four two-seat MiG-29KUB aircraft. The refurbishment works were commenced at the FSUE Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russia, in April 2004. The cost for repair and refit of the carrier, spares, infrastructure augmentation and documentation was estimated to be $974m. The modernised warship was initially scheduled to be delivered by August 2008 but was delayed due to cost overruns.
The two countries reached an agreement on the final delivery and entire cost of the upgraded warship in December 2009. The deal was finalised in March 2010, the cost was fixed at $2.33bn and delivery was scheduled for December 2012.
The overhaul was completed by March 2012 and the first sea trials began in June 2012. The delivery was however delayed again due to defects encountered in boilers and the need for replacement of additional electrical cables.
The modernised carrier completed final sea trials in the White Sea in July 2013 and aviation trials in November 2013. The INS Vikramaditya will be integrated with close in weapon system (CIWS) and Barak 8 long-range air-defence system (LR-SAM) between 2015 and 2017.