Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-era aircraft carrier that was bought by India, is anchored at the Sevmash factory in the northern city of Severodvinsk July 2, 2009.
Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-era aircraft carrier that was bought by India, is anchored at the Sevmash factory in the northern city of Severodvinsk July 2, 2009.Reuters

The refurbished 44,500-tonne carrier, INS Vikramaditya, was handed over to India by Russia at an impressive ceremony at Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in Russia.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of dignitaries including the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozin and Defence Minister Mr Shoigu among others.

India's Defence Minister AK Antony at the occasion said that INS Vikramaditya would significantly enhance the reach and capability of the Indian Navy.

"India's economic development is dependent on the seas and safeguarding the nation's maritime interests is central to our national policy.  Aircraft carriers have been part of the Indian Navy's force structure since our independence and have effectively served the country over the past five decades or so.  The induction of 'Vikramaditya' with its integral MiG29K fighters and Kamov-31 helicopters, not only reinforces this central policy, but also adds a new dimension to our Navy's operational capabilities.  The meaning of 'Vikramaditya', which literally translates into "Strong as the Sun" is complemented by the Ship's motto -"Strike Far, Strike Sure", Antony said in a statement.

The aircraft carrier will bridge the time-gap that may come up between the INS Virat and the indigenously built aircraft carrier Vikrant and also help the Navy to achieve its goal of operating two aircraft carriers, said Admiral DK Joshi, Chief of Naval Staff.

INS Vikramaditya

INS Vikramaditya is termed as a floating airfield as it enables taking off and landing of fighter jets MiG-29 with an overall length of about 284 metres and a maximum beam of 60 metres. It is said to be as large as three football fields. The steel structure stands as tall as 20 storeys from keel to the highest point with 22 decks.

The ship has a crew of over 1,600 on board with a capacity of over 8,000 tonnes of LSHSD. The warship is capable of operations up to a range of over 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 kilometres).  It is powered by eight new generation steam boilers that enable the ship to travel at a high speed of 30 nautical miles per hour. The ship is the first of its kind in the Indian Navy to have a four propeller-four shaft configuration. 

The power generation capacity onboard is about 18 megawatts, which is enough power to light up a small city.  

The ship has a surveillance capability of 500 kilometres around the ship with an extensive revamp of sensors, long-range Air Surveillance Radars and Advanced Electronic Warfare Suite.

INS Vikramaditya can carry an assortment of over 30 MiG-29 or Sea Harrierrs, Kamov Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King and Advanced Light Helicopter - Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. The newly deployed MiG-29 military jets act as a swing role fighter and form an offensive platform on board adding teeth to maritime strike capability. The aircraft can fly at a speed of 700 nautical miles per hour and is attached with an array of weapons including anti-ship missiles, Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets.

The ship is also equipped with state-of-the-art launch and recovery systems along with aids to enable smooth and efficient operation of ship borne aircraft. Major systems include the LUNA Landing system for MiGs, DAPS Landing system for Sea Harriers and flight deck lighting systems.

The combat systems on board INS Vikramaditya are operated by Computer aided Action Information Organisation (CAIO) system, LESORUB-E, with the capability to gather data from ship's sensors and data links and to process, collate and assemble comprehensive tactical pictures.

The ship is also fitted with a critical feature called Resistor-E radar complex. It is an automated system designed for providing air traffic control, approach/landing and short range navigation for ship borne aircraft to provide navigation and flight data to ship borne aircraft.

The warship is refurbished with a very modern communication complex, CCS MK II, for external communications and installation of Link II tactical data system that integrates the ship with Indian Navy's network centric operations.