INS Vikramaditya

INS Vikramaditya

INS "Vikramaditya" (Sanskrit: विक्रमादित्य, Vikramāditya) is the new name for the former Soviet aircraft carrier "Admiral Gorshkov", which has been procured by India, and is estimated to enter service in the Indian Navy after 2010.

The "Vikramaditya" is a modified "Type 1143" "Kiev" class aircraft carrier built in 1978-1982. The ship is presently being extensively refitted at Sevmash shipyard in Russia. It is projected to replace India's only aircraft carrier, INS "Viraat".


On January 20, 2004, after years of negotiations, Russia and India signed a deal for the sale of the ship, the then-"Admiral Gorshkov". The ship was free, while India will pay US$800 million for upgrade and refit of the ship, as well as at least an additional $1bn for the aircraft and weapons systems. The Navy looked at equipping the carrier with the E- 2C, but decided not to [ [] - WHAT'S HOT? ANALYSIS OF RECENT HAPPENINGS - Aero India 2005 – Naval Interests - An IDC Report] .

The deal also includes the purchase of 12 single-seat MiG-29K 'Fulcrum-D' (Product 9.41) and 4 dual-seat MiG-29KUB aircraft (with an option for 14 more aircraft)$1bn, 6 Kamov Ka-31 "Helix" reconnaissance and anti-submarine helicopters, torpedo tubes, missile systems, and artillery units. Facilities and procedures for training pilots and technical staff, delivery of simulators, spare parts, and establishment maintenance on Indian Navy facilities are also part of the contract.

Upgrade plans involve stripping all the weaponry and missile launcher tubes from the ship's foredeck to make way for a Short Take-Off But Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) configuration [ [ Defence Talk] - Pictures of the Gorshkov being worked on in dry docks] . This will convert the "Gorshkov" from a hybrid carrier/cruiser to a pure carrier.

The announced delivery date for INS Vikramaditya was August 2008 [ [ Bharat-Rakshak] VIKRAMADITYA (KIEV) CLASS] , which would allow the carrier to enter service just as the Indian Navy's only light carrier INS Viraat retires. The INS Viraat’s retirement has been pushed out to 2010-2012 [ [ Defense Industry Daily] INS Vikramaditya Hits Delay, Cost Increases] . However, ongoing delays with the Vikramaditya's delivery schedule to 2012 could mean that even this postponement of the Viraat's retirement may not come soon enough and the Indian Navy may find itself without an aircraft carrier for the first time since the 1960s. In the mean time, India's plans to build an indigenous Vikrant class aircraft carrier too seem to be slipping past 2014 [ [ Sea Power] - October 2007 ] .

The issue with the delays has been compounded by the ongoing cost overruns. This has resulted in high-level diplomatic exchanges to get these issues resolved. India has agreed to pay an additional $2 billion USD for the project, more than doubling the original cost. [ [ NDTV News clip] on price increase]


aircraft. The maximum take off length for the Mig-29K on the Vikramaditya will be between 160-180 meters.

Because of the short runway and the lack of steam catapults on the "Vikramaditya", the MiG-29K will only be able to take off safely at maximum engine power in full afterburning mode. Moreover, it is very unlikely that the MiG-29K will be able to take off with a full payload and maximum fuel tanks. When used in the air-to-ground or long range/endurance air-to-air scenario, this will be a severely limiting factor for the MiG-29K. It also seems highly unlikely that both launches and landings will be able at the same time on the "Vikramaditya", another limiting factor. [ [] - VIKRAMADITYA (KIEV) CLASS]

The nature of its original design, however, means that INS Vikramaditya will still fall short of comparably-sized western counterparts like the FNS Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, with its 40-plane complement that leans heavily to fighter jets. Ranges given for the refitted Vikramaditya seem to average 12-16 fighters and 4-16 of the compact Ka-28/31 helicopters; diagrams seem to suggest total stowage space for a “footprint” of no more than 15-16 MiG-29Ks, with each Kamov helicopter sporting a comparative footprint of about 0.4, and about 5-6 open footprint spots on deck.


All reconfiguration work is being completed at Severomorsk, Russia [ [] - INS Vikramaditya] ; however it has been delayed by three years due to underestimating the amount of cabling needed and will be commissioned by 2012. [ [ The U.S. tries to shut Russia out of India's defense market] ] An expert level discussion on technical and financial matters is held between India and Russia to sort out the issues. [ [ Only few technical, financial issues pending on Gorshkov deal] ] The 16 Mig-29K/KUB fighters will be delivered by September 2008. [ [ India, Russia finalise new deal on Gorshkov] ] A compromise was finalized and India will pay an extra amount. Russia will install new systems instead of repairing the old ones and the carrier will be delivered in 2010. Then it will begin an eighteen month sea trial before it is commissioned in to the Indian Navy in 2012. [ [ India, Russia end spat over Soviet-era aircraft carrier] ]


"Vikramāditya" is Sanskrit for "Brave as the Sun" [Literally "Vikramaditya" translates as being "Sun (Aditya) of Valour" (Vikram). The component "āditya" (sun) literally means "he who belongs to Aditi".] and was the title of some of the most famous kings in Indian history, such as the Vikramaditya of Ujjain, famed as a noble ruler and a mighty warrior. It is also a title that was used by the Indian king Chandragupta II who ruled between 375-413/15 AD.


See also

* List of aircraft carriers
* INS Vikrant
* INS Viraat

External links

* [ Bharat Rakshak's note on the INS Vikramaditya]
* [ Photos, models & information at Worldwide Aircraft Carriers]
* [ India to get revamped aircraft carrier from Russia (Part 1)]

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