Nearly Two Years, A Refit And A Fire Later, INS Vikramaditya Finally To Be Back In Action By January End

by Ujjwal Shrotryia - Jan 18, 2023 01:58 PM +05:30 IST
Nearly Two Years, A Refit And A Fire Later, INS Vikramaditya Finally To Be Back In Action By January EndINS Vikramaditya.

INS Vikramaditya, India’s Russian-built aircraft carrier will join the Navy by the end of January 2023, after a major refit, reported Hindustan Times.

Vikramaditya underwent an eighteen-month long major refit, which was completed in July 2022. However, while trials were underway following the refit, the 45,000 ton carrier suffered a major fire.

This delayed the aircraft carrier rejoining the fleet by more than six months. Now, following repairs, it will be back in action only by the end of January 2023, the report says. 

Interestingly, Vikramaditya has become a fire magnet for quite some time. Earlier in May 2021, it reported a minor fire incident. No casualties were reported.

In 2019, Vikramaditya suffered another fire in which a young Naval officer was killed while dousing the fire.

This has led many to refer to the aircraft carrier as a "garage queen", much like Russia's Kuznetsov carrier. Its sea trials will commence after the Vikramaditya sets sail at end of January. 

According to Hindustan Times, by the end of 2023, INS Vikrant — the first Indian design, developed and manufactured aircraft carrier — and INS Vikramaditya, will both be in the service, simultaneously, with the Navy for the first time. 

The presence of two active carriers in the fleet will give a significant boost to the Navy’s aviation and force projection capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region. 

These aircraft carriers will together play a significant role in demonstrating India's willingness to counter China, which is growing its presence in the Indian Ocean Region and, sometime this decade, may start deploying its own carriers in the Indian Ocean.

Both of these carriers will be based on the western seaboard till the new jetty at Vishakapatnam gets operational. In the meantime, the Navy is also looking at leasing a jetty at the Kattupalli port, in North Chennai, for INS Vikrant.

The Navy is also considering making a jetty at Campbell Bay in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Russian-built MIG-29K fighter aircrafts will operate from these aircraft carriers until the deal to buy 26 muti-role F/A-18s from Boeing or Rafale from Dassault is signed. Trials of Boeing F-18 Super Hornets and Dassault Rafales were conducted in 2022 at Shore-Based Testing Facility (SBTF) in Goa.

The Navy has sent a detailed report of these trials to the Ministry of Defence and various reports suggest that Rafale might be the better fit for the Indian Navy.

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