Sea Trials Start Of Indian Navy's Aircraft Carrier
Sea trials have commenced with the Indian Navy’s new aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya after a major refurbishment costing $ 2.3 billion at the Sevmash Shipyard, Russia. Originally laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South Shipyard in Ukraine as Baku, a Modified Kiev Class Project 1143.4 carrier, was launched in 1982 and commissioned in 1987: in 1991 she was renamed Admiral Goshkov.
Caption: The Virkamaditya being moved at Sevmash Shipyard, April 2012
Image credit: Sevmash Shipyard
In 1994, a boiler room explosion caused her to be withdrawn from service for a year undergoing repairs. She returned to service briefly in 1995 and in 1996 was taken out of service permanently and offered for sale.
The ship has a displacement of 45,400 t, an LOA of 928 ft (283 m), beam 167 ft (51 m) and draft of 32.8 ft (10 m). The propulsion system comprises eight oil fired boilers with four GTZA 674 steam turbines delivering 50,000 hp to each of the four shafts. Speed is 29 kn with a range of 13,800 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 18 kn. The air wing is expected to consist of carrier-based single seat MiG-29K and two seater MiG-29KUB fighter aircraft.
After leaving Sevmash Shipyard the carrier will heads out into the White Sea where she will be pushed to her maximum in a series of sea trials lasting 8 to 10 days. The ship will then enter the Barents Sea for air wing trials with test flights and demonstrations of take off and landing carried out using two Russian aircraft, MiG-29K and MiG-35, flown by Russian pilots. Russia last year delivered to the Indian Navy 12 MiG-29K single-seaters and 4 MiG-29KUB two-seaters, which will be based on the Vikramaditya.
India has ordered another batch of 29 MiG-29K deck fighters that will also provide airpower for the Vikrant aircraft carrier being built in India.
India plans to add two indigenously built carriers to her fleet and the first hull was laid down in 2009 with a planned launch date of 2013. All carriers will use Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery.(STOBAR). Once in service the INS Vikramaditya is to replace the Viraat (ex HMSHermes) aircraft carrier.