The regal aircraft carrier of Indian Navy, INS Vikrant will always be remembered as an integral asset of the Indian Defense Forces. The aircraft carrier was included in the Indian Navy in the year 1957 after its purchase from United Kingdom and was commissioned after her completion in the year 1961. After serving the nation for nearly forty years, the imperial aircraft carrier was formally decommissioned in 1997.
After its formal decommissioning, the aircraft carrier was patented as a floating museum ship and was docked near the Gateway of India in Mumbai. Although, the aircraft carrier has some of the most remarkable accounts and proceedings in the Indian defensive records, speculations about its maintenance difficulties grew strong by the end of 2012.
As a result, the floating ship museum was deemed unsafe and by the end of January 2014 the first aircraft carrier of Indian navy was auctioned online. As a tribute to the integral part of the Indian defense services, let’s check out the most interesting facts about INS Vikrant and India’s 1st Aircraft Carrier Turned Museum.
Immersive Features of INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant has 192 meter long waterline and 213.3 meters extreme. Moreover, the beam dimensions measure about 24.4 m waterline and 39 meters extreme.
The air craft carrier had two Parsons geared steam turbines which produced an implausible power of 40,000 horse power and could accelerate the ship to a speed of 23 knots.
Generally categorized as Majestic class light carrier type, INS Vikrant has been a platform for aircrafts like Hawker Sea Hawk, Westland Sea King, HAL Chetak, Sea Harrier and Breguet Alizé Br.1050.
INS Vikrant had four regiments on board that were INAS 300 “White Tigers, INAS 310 “Cobras”, INAS 321 “Angels” and INAS 330 “Harpoons”.
With an armament of 16 x 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns, the aircraft carrier had a standard displacement of 15,700 tons.
Constructing the Invincible INS Vikrant
The majestic aircraft carrier was built by Harland and Wolff, Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering which was laid down on 12 November 1943 and launched on 22 September 1945.
The initial construction work started with Vickers-Armstrong on the River Tyne in the year 1943 but was suspended with the end of Second World War.
In 1957, the air craft carrier was redesigned as per the Indian Navy requirements and was then completed by Harland and Wolff.
Commission with the Indian Navy
After its purchase from the United Kingdom, INS Vikrant was commissioned on 4th march 1961 by Vijayalakshmi Pandit in Belfast.
The earlier name to the aircraft carrier was HMS Hercules (R49) but after its purchase the name was changed to Vikrant, a Sanskrit word which means courageous.
The first jet to land on the deck on INS Vikrant was piloted by Lieutenant Radhakrishna Hariram Tahiliani.
On the memorable day of 3rd November 1961, INS Vikrant formally joined the Indian Navy in Mumbai under the Captain Pritam Singh.
War with Pakistan
In the war of 1965, the Pakistani army was obsessed with enormous power of INS Vikrant rumored that they had sunk it during an operation, but the aircraft carrier was under repair at the Mumbai dockyard.
During the Indo- Pakistani War of 1971, INS Vikrant was anchored on the northern tip of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
It was on 4th of December 1971 under the heroic leadership of Admiral P.D. Sharma that INS Vikrant provided sea hawk aircrafts with a perfect launch pad.
INS Vikrant hedged the attack from the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi and provided furious air attacks to destroy the established warfronts of eastern Pakistan.
The spirited potential of INS Vikrant earned two Maha Vir Chakra and twelve Vir Chakra gallantries for her crew.
Moreover, INS Vikrant acted as a close sea base during the liberation of Goa from Portuguese in 1971.
After The Decommission
INS Vikrant served as the nation’s only aircraft carrier for more than two decades and formally commissioned on 31st January 1997.
With a hulking body weight of 15,000 tonnes, the central government of India nearly spent twenty two crore rupees on its repair.
After the rest period of almost four months, INS Vikrant was open for public viewing as floating museum from the year 2001.
The public openings to the museum were mainly done during the Navy Week celebrations in December.
As an attempt, advocate Shekhar Jagtap argued applications to save the historical symbol of Indian Navy, before it was finally auctioned for a base price of 350 crores.
Before auctioning INS Vikrant to an Alang ship-breaker, speculations were made to design the memorable navy spearhead as a hotel or a training ship.