India’s New-Old Carrier Goes to Sea

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.

  • tiger

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

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

  • Prodozul

    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.

  • cozine

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

    • cozine

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

  • tiger

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

    • V.A.

      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.

  • Rohan

    India……we rocksssss…….

  • Rohan

    Indian Defence at itzz best !!!!

  • Bryan

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

  • Lance

    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.

  • mpower6428

    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.

  • mpower6428

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

  • Rob

    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.

  • TonyC

    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).

    • blight_

      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.

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