Modi to witness INS Vikramaditya's capabilites

Modi to witness INS Vikramaditya's capabilites

Modi to witness INS Vikramaditya's capabilites

It will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to a military platform, a "day at sea" Saturday when he will witness capabilities of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy's largest and most powerful warship, off the Goa coast.

Modi's visit to Goa, where he will take part in a series of events, will also be his first domestic visit since he became the prime minister last month. Goa has played a crucial role in Modi's political career.

During his visit to INS Vikramaditya, Modi would get an account of the operational capabilities of the warship, the most powerful symbol of India's military reach.

The 44,500 tonne warship, procured from Russia, is one of the newest acquisitions of Indian Navy. It was commissioned by then defence minister A.K. Antony last November at Russia's Sevmash shipyard.

The warship sailed uninterrupted for about six weeks from Russia to reach its home port of Karwar in Karnataka in January.

The warship, which had undergone a massive refit in Russia, is now fully operational with Indian Navy pilots conducting regular flying operations with the Russian origin Mig-29K combat aircraft.

INS Vikramaditya has an overall length of 284 meters and a beam of 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together.  Standing about 20 storeys tall from kell to the highest point, the vessel has 22 decks.

With over 1,600 personnel on board, Vikramaditya is literally a floating city.   Linked to the personnel on board is mamoth logistics requirement - nearly 100,000 eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice, to name just a few, per month.

Officials said that with her complete stock of provisions, INS Vikramaditya is capable of sustaining at sea for about 45 days. The warship is capable of operations upto a range of over 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km).

The long-range air surveillance radars and advanced electronic warfare suite makes the ship capable of maintaining a surveillance bubble of over 500 km around the ship.

The warship has the abilitiy to carry 30 aircraft including an assortment of MiG 29K/Sear Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.

The MIG-29K aircraft, the  main offensive platform on the warship,  provides a quantum jump to the Indian Navy's maritime strike capabilities. The fourth-generation air superiority fighters can carry an array of weapons, including anti-ship missiles, beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets.

Negotiations for acquiring INS Vikramaditya, (originally Admiral Gorshkov) started in 1994 and the government approved the acquisition in January 2004.

However, once the refit began, it was realised that the scope of project would be much larger than originally estimated and a revised cost and timeline for completion of task was agreed to by Russia and India in 2009.

The ship was to be delivered by the end of 2012 but a hiccup that year saw the boilers malfunctioning, putting off the delivery date to November 2013.During his visit to Goa, Modi is also scheduled to interact with party workers. The state has beeen eventful for Modi.

It was at Goa conclave of Bharatiya Janata Party last year  that Modi was declared the head of the party's campaign for Lok Sabha elections.

It was also BJP's meet in Goa in 2002 that decided that Modi should  continue as the Gujarat hief minister despite suggestions that he should resign in the wake of the post-Godhra riots.

During his visit, Modi will  lay foundation stone of a Rs.450 crore bridge across the Mandovi river leading to Panaji. Modi is also expected to announce a new and bigger bridge spanning the Zuari river that divides the North and South Goa districts.

According to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Modi will address two meetings, one involving party workers and another for over 150 select invitees from the state.

Modi's bullet proof BMW limousine as well as four escort Tata Safari SUVs have already arrived in Goa and so has an advance party of the Special Protection Group (SPG).