On November 16, the Indian Navy finally took delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Adm. Gorshkov, at Sevmash Shipyard in northern Russia’s Severodvinsk town. The acquisition marks a new phase in India’s quest to become a true blue-water navy.
The handover ceremony of the 44,570-tonne carrier is sure to have generated more than a passing interest within the PLA Navy and across the rest of the continent, since India will be the only country in Asia to have two aircraft carriers in its fleet. Admittedly, the 55-year old INS Viraat is “long in the tooth” as India’s Navy Chief Admiral D. K. Joshi himself described it in a recent interview, but it will continue to operate until India’s locally built carrier INS Vikrant becomes operational by 2017.
I’ve discussed my concerns about India’s naval aviation project before, but it’s good that they’re finally getting the carrier they expected to take possession of in 2008. I’m kind of curious as to the long-term plans that the Soviet Navy had for the Kiev class, whether they were planning on keeping them around in their current form, or updating them once better carrier aircraft came available. I suppose it depends to some extent on how the Yak-141 would have worked out: