INS Vikrant 1961
India’s first aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, was decommissioned in 1997 after nearly three decades of service. The ship played a vital role in the country’s 1971 war with Pakistan and was also used during the 1999 Kargil War. In this article, we take a look at the history of the INS Vikrant and its significance to India.
What is INS Vikrant?
INS Vikrant is the lead ship of the Vikrant-class aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy. She was built in India and commissioned in 2013. The Vikrant-class carriers are based on the Kolkata-class design and are the first aircraft carriers to be designed and built in India. The ship is currently in service with the Indian Navy.
The Vikrant-class carriers have a displacement of 40,000 tonnes and are 263 meters long. They have a beam of 60 meters and a draught of 7.5 meters. The carriers are powered by four geared steam turbines that generate a total power output of 280 MW. They have a maximum speed of 28 knots (52 km/h) and can carry a complement of 3,500 personnel.
The Vikrant-class carriers are equipped with two Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) catapults for launching aircraft. They have an angled flight deck that can accommodate up to 30 aircraft, including MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov Ka-31 helicopters, and AWACS aircraft. The carriers are also equipped with an integrated air defense system and multiple offensive and defensive weapon systems.
The history of INS Vikrant
The Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, was commissioned in 1961. The ship served for more than three decades and was decommissioned in 1997. Vikrant was the lead ship of her class of two carriers, the other being INS Viraat. She was operated by the Indian Navy and her keel was laid down in 1957 at the Vickers-Armstrongs Shipyard, Newcastle upon Tyne in England. The ship was launched on 14 September 1959 by Mrs. Sanyasi Raje Bhosale, the wife of Yashwantrao Chavan, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Vikrant was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 4 March 1961 with Captain Mukul Roy in command.
The carrier saw action during the 1971 India-Pakistan War when she played a vital role in the victory of Operation Trident and Operation Python. She also took part in relief operations during natural calamities such as Operation Sea Hawk after the 1974 Cyclone and Operation Zafar after the 1977 floods in Gujarat. Vikrant was decommissioned on 31 January 1997 and is currently preserved as a maritime museum in Mumbai.
Why was INS Vikrant decommissioned?
The Indian Navy decommissioned its first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, in January 1997. The decision to decommission Vikrant was taken due to the obsolescence of her airwing and the ship’s inability to operate the navy’s new generation fighters. In addition, Vikrant was expensive to maintain and her crew was inadequate in number and experience.
What are the current plans for INS Vikrant?
The current plans for INS Vikrant are to have it refitted and commissioned by the Indian Navy by 2020.
INS Vikrant was a powerful warship that served India well. It was decommissioned in 1997, but it still holds a special place in the hearts of many Indians. The ship was recently sold for scrap, but its legacy will live on.