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India’s New-Old Carrier Goes to Sea

by John Reed on June 11, 2012

Let’s start this week off with a newly released pictrue of India’s new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramiditya, setting out from the Sevmash shipyard in Russia to conduct her first sea trials after a massive refit to get her ready for service with the Indian navy.

In a past life, Vikramiditya served in the Soviet and Russian navies as the Baku and Admiral Gorshov — specifically, as an ‘aircraft carrying cruiser’, as the Russians called her. As such, she was armed with a mix of  P-550 Bazalt anti-ship cruise missiles, SA-9 Tor surface-to-air missiles and the vertical take-off and landing Yak-38 fighters before being retired in the 1990s.

The Indians have paid for her giant missile tubes to be removed from the bow-section of the ship, freeing up space for the installation of a ski-jump ramp and additional aircraft parking space, making her look very, very similar to China’s new-old aircraft carrier, the ex Soviet-Varyag. She’s slated to be handed over to the Indian navy later this year and once in service, she’ll carry a mix o MiG-29Ks and Sea Harrier fighters, replacing the ancient British-made Viraat as India’s carrier.

Like China, India plans to beef up its carrier forces by fielding two indigenous carrier designs in the coming decade . Unlike China, India has been operating aircraft carriers for decades, giving its navy a serious leg up on how to best use the ships. Remember, China is expected to spend years using the ex-Varyag to master the skills of carrier operations.

Click through the jump to see a pic of Vikramiditya during her Soviet days.

Via Alert 5.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

tiger June 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

Everybody wants in on flattops today. Even the JMSDF has their new Hyuga class ships going now.

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PolicyWonk June 11, 2012 at 10:06 am

The Japanese are not allowed to have carriers anymore. This is why their new Hyuga class ships are classified as destroyers. Yep – thats right – destroyers.

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cozine June 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

They can't – by the post-war peace constitution, but that doesn't mean they won't. Just wait for the right excuse – e.g. Diaoyu island – then F-35Bs will be lifting off from its flight deck.

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octopusmagnificens June 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

Now it looks almost like an Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier.

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Prodozul June 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

It was the Admiral Gorshkov…

But on a side note don't forget to compliment their MIGs and Harriers they're also going to operate the HAL Tejas on them.

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cozine June 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

If I were the navy pilot I'll be very concerned about that HUGE island sitting in the MIDDLE of flight deck!

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cozine June 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

…which almost look like the Taj Mahal, with the dome and the minaret standing on the side… :)

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DC2 Jennings June 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

This is not on the Chinese carrier either. but if you are that close to the island you will probably be more concerned about hitting it instead.

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tiger June 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

Mig 29's & Sea Harriers? Bit of a odd couple for a airwing.

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V.A. June 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

The Harriers are planned to be eventually replaced by the N-LCA. Right now, they're being kept airborne just to fill up the numbers, more or less. They've served with the INS Viraat for a long time, so they carry over to the Vikramaditya once the Viraat is decommissioned.

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Rohan June 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

India……we rocksssss…….

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Rohan June 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

Indian Defence at itzz best !!!!

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Bryan June 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

That is one heck of a refit to remove all that hardware and add a ski jump

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Lance June 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Want to see the MiG-29Ks on a new pic of it. Be cool hope India would start coping it and make a fleet of them. Make china pee there pants for Indian Ocean access.

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Jeff June 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm

As usual, you are a dumbass…

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Lance June 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Sounds like Jeff had a wrong BM this afternoon and needs to be mad at the world.

Your such a commie lover Jeff.

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mpower6428 June 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm

you have to admit, its a nice looking boat.

as nice as the MIG-29's and SU-27 varients are… i get the distinct impression that the early F/A-18 would have been a perfect fit for this hull.

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mpower6428 June 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

oh and how bout those ICBM sized anti-ship missiles…? good gawd.

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Rob June 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Hopefully they worked out the problems they had with her, totally rewiring miles of wiring, replacing its two massive boilers etc. Hopefully there no quirks. I think their going have challenge running that thing, it likely to be expensive.

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TonyC June 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

Ski jump carriers appear to be bow heavy and probably don't handle well, a good quality for flight operations. At least the will be drier in high seas (like the north Atlantic in winter).

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blight_ June 12, 2012 at 9:31 am

Which suited the Soviet Navy and the RN just fine, I imagine.

That said, curious if any RN people could clarify on ski jump carriers.

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Aaron Evans June 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

i wonder when countries like china, russia, and india start bulding their own supercarrier?

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Don Reba June 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Indians probably see Russian corruption as statistically insignificant, compared to their own.

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V.A. June 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I doubt they milked the Indians too much, to be honest.

If anything, this project was more important for Russia and Sevmash than it was for India. Retrofitting the Gorshkov provided the funds to produce modern technologies for their facilities, and relearn the process of building an aircraft carrier. Considering how many carriers and other surface ships Russia intends to produce in the next decade or so, the modernisation of Sevmash and the experience gained were likely invaluable.

And the time period: multiple times through the retrofit, India decided she wanted more modern equipment on the Vikramaditya. Similarly, Russia kept discovering more and more that was wrong with the Gorshkov hull, which had to be addressed. Which, subsequently, involved procuring new production technologies or off-the-shelf equipment from other sources. Its likely that if the Carrier was built in the US, it wouldn't have had such issues, but considering the last time Sevmash was involved in a carrier project the flag still flew red, it isn't very surprising.

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