In his maiden visit to a defence establishment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will sail on INS Vikramaditya, the largest warship of the Indian Navy, off the coast of Goa on June 14. The Prime Minister will also dedicate the warship, India’s second aircraft carrier after INS Viraat, to the nation on that day, Navy sources said here. The 44,500-tonne warship, procured from Russia for over Rs 15,000 crore, is already sailing in the Arabian Sea.
INS Vikramaditya is the newest and largest ship which joined the Indian Navy on November 16, 2013. The ship was commissioned by the then Defence Minister A K Antony in Russia. Vikramaditya, a floating airfield, has an overall length of about 284 metres and a maximum beam of about 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together. Standing about 20 storeys tall from keel to the highest point, the ship has a total of 22 decks.
With over 1,600 personnel on board, Vikramaditya is literally a ‘floating city’. Associated with this large population is a mammoth logistics requirement–nearly a lakh of eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice per month. With her complete stock of provisions, she is capable of sustaining herself at sea for about 45 days. The ship is now fully operational with Indian pilots taking off and landing on it in their Russian-origin Mig 29K naval combat aircraft.
Vikramaditya was also part of an exercise along the country’s western seaboard. During the sea sortie by the Prime Minister, the warship is expected to be provided aerial security by combat aircraft of the armed forces as it does not have an air defence system of its own. The Navy has plans of putting an air defence system on it when it goes for its first refit.
The Prime Minister may also visit Army bases such as Siachen in the coming months on the invite of the armed forces.