- India built its first ‘Made-in-India’ aircraft carrier
- The largest warship ever built in the maritime history of India
- Indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant inducted into Navy’s fleet
Indian Navy: India created history by launching its first ‘Made-in-India’ aircraft carrier. The new ship INS Vikrant has been named in honor of the country’s first warship. The Indian Navy said, India has joined the small club of countries that have the capability to build an aircraft carrier. Marked a historic milestone of realization of the nation’s commitment towards self-reliance. Vikrant is the largest warship ever built in India, and the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy. This places India in an elite club of nations that have the ability to design and build these massive, powerful warships. As the country approaches this important milestone, we take a look at India’s past and present aircraft carriers and how they have served the country effectively.
History of INS Vikrant
India’s maritime history changed in 1957 when the first aircraft carrier – INS Vikrant – was commissioned by Vijayalakshmi Pandit in Belfast, United Kingdom. Originally named as HMS Hercules, the ship was built at the Vickers-Armstrong Shipyard and was launched in the year 1945 as a part of the Majestic class of ships of Great Britain. However, even before he was brought into active operational duty, World War II came. One end and the ship was withdrawn from use in active naval duty. In the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, INS Vikrant played a pivotal role in spite of many doubts about its seaworthiness before the war.
As Captain Hiranandani later recalled the Chief of the Navy, Admiral Sardarlal Mathradas Nanda, saying, during the 1965 war, Vikrant sat in Bombay Harbor and did not go to sea. If the same thing happens in 1971, Vikrant will be called a white elephant and naval aviation will be written off. If we didn’t fly the plane, Vikrant had to look operational. As per reports, in just 10 days, more than 300 strike flights were carried out from Vikrant.
The battleship exceeded expectations. In subsequent years, the battleship underwent major re-hauling. However, after years of wear and tear, INS Vikrant served as a museum after decommissioning in 1997 and was preserved by thousands of curious people, especially youth and students, as she was anchored off Mumbai Harbour. The cost of maintenance and upkeep turned out to be huge and after many hiccups and legal battles, after a glorious history of 71 years they were finally sold as scrap to IB Commercials Pvt Ltd in November 2014 for Rs 60 crores.
History of INS Viraat
INS Viraat has the honor of being India’s oldest aircraft carrier. It also has the honor of being the longest serving warship in the world. According to the Indian Navy, it created the Guinness Book of Records for this. INS Viraat was first commissioned into the British Royal Navy on 18 November 1959 as HMS Hermes. He served as the head of the Royal Navy’s task force during the Falklands War in 1982. He was decommissioned in 1985. Hermes was then brought in from the Portsmouth Dockyard. Devonport Dockyard will be refitted and sold to India for $465 million. The aircraft carrier was inducted into the Indian Navy on 12 May 1987. The traditional Centaur-class aircraft carrier, whose name means Vishal in Sanskrit, had a staff of 1,500 on board. Its motto was (in Sanskrit) – Jalmeva Yasya Balamevatsya (The one who controls the ocean is all powerful). INS Viraat has a long history of service to the Indian Navy for 33 years.
INS Viraat first saw action in Operation Jupiter by sending peacekeeping forces to Sri Lanka during the 1989 Indo-Sri Lanka conflict, after which she was associated with the Garhwal Rifles and Scouts of the Indian Army in 1990. INS Viraat served as part of Operation Vijay in 1999. It was also instrumental in blocking Pakistani ports, mainly Karachi port. Virat then saw action in Operation Parakram, which took place in 2001-2002 after the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament. Nicknamed the Grand Old Lady, the ship has participated in various international joint exercises such as in Malabar with the US Navy, Varuna with the French Navy, Naseem-ul-Bahr with the Omani Navy, and was an important part of the annual theater level operation . The glorious era of INS Viraat came to an end when it was decommissioned by the Indian Navy in March 2017.
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