INS Vikramaditya: All you need to know about aircraft carrier

INSThe ship has the ability to carry over 30 aircraft comprising an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. (IE Photo)

The long-delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will be inducted into the Indian Navy on November 16.

The past: India's first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, a Majestic class ship acquired from the UK, was commissioned on March 04 1961. The second, INS Viraat, a Centaur class carrier, came into service more than two decades later in 1987.

A new carrier: Negotiations for acquiring the 44,500 ton Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier started in 1994 after the ship was put up on offer by Russia. Indian Naval and scientific delegations assessed the ship and concluded that despite it being unused for years, the ship's hull was in good material state.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in December 1998 during a visit by the then Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. An Inter-Governmental Agreement was sealed on October 04 2000. After prolonged negotiations, the contract was inked on January 20, 2004 and the cost was agreed at Rs 4881.67 crore for the ship, spares, infrastructure augmentation and documentation. As per the contract, it was scheduled to be completed within 52 weeks at the Sevmash shipyard.

However, once the work began it came to light that the scope of the project would be needed to be increased tremendously as several parts that were being opened, were found malfunctioning and needed replacement. The entire length of cable, large portions of steel hull, motors, turbines and boilers had to be replaced, adding cost and time escalation.

After a renegotiation, additional costs were agreed to in December 2009 with the ship to be delivered in 2012.

The history of the ship: The carrier originally was a Kiev class aircraft carrying cruiser named 'Baku' that was constructed in Ukraine. The ship was never supposed to carry conventional fixed-wing fighters like the MiG 29 K, but was designed for Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) fighters. Commissioned in December 1987, the Baku was heavily armed with twelve Anti-Ship Missile launchers, ten gun mounts of differing calibre and rocket launchers and depth charges. The air element comprised Yak-38 aircraft. The Baku was renamed as the Admiral Gorshov in Nov 1990 and remained in service till 1996.

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