Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the deck of INS Vikramaditya, in Goa on June 14, 2014. (PIB)
In his first visit to an operational military formation after assuming office, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the country’s new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya to the Nation.
The Prime Minister embarked the aircraft carrier at sea off Goa, which was operating in the company of ten other frontline warships of the Indian Navy’s ‘Sword Arm’ – the Western Fleet.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar, the Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan and the Defence Secretary RK Mathus. He was received onboard INS Vikramaditya by the Commander-in-Chief, Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, and Fleet Commander, Western Fleet Rear Admiral AK Chawla.
On arrival at the Naval Air Station INS Hansa earlier in the morning, the Prime Minister was received by Admiral RK Dhowan and accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
Thereafter, Modi embarked the aircraft carrier at sea by helicopter. During the day, the Prime Minister witnessed ‘Air Power Demonstration’ by various naval aircraft including MiG 29K, Sea Harriers, P 8 I Long Range Maritime Patrol Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft, TU 142M, IL 38 SD, Dorniers, Kamov and Sea King helicopters.
He also witnessed high speed manoeuvres by Western Fleet ships including the other aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi class destroyers Mysore and Mumbai, stealth frigates Tarkash, Talwar and Teg, guided missile frigates Betwa and Godavari and fleet tanker Deepak amongst others. Modi also interacted with officers and sailors onboard and congratulated them on their hard work and dedication in fully operationalising the INS Vikramaditya in such a short period.
In his address to the personnel of the fleet, the Prime Minister stated that INS Vikramaditya will significantly enhance the ‘Blue Water’ capability of the Indian Navy. The Western Fleet, also known as the Sword Arm of the Indian Navy consists of many frontline warships including the Aircraft Carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat.
Commissioned on 16 Nov 2013 at Severodovinsk, Russia, the 44,500 tons displacement INS Vikramaditya marks the coming of age for the navy and its commitment to safeguard the maritime interests of the country. With an overall length of 284 meters and a width of 60 meters measuring over three football fields, this floating airfield is equipped to carry a maximum of 34 aircraft such as MIG 29 K fighters and Kamov 31 helicopters.
The ship is now fully operational with Indian pilots taking off and landing the MIG 29K naval combat aircraft. Manned by a highly professional and competent crew of 110 officers and 1500 sailors, the ship can propel at speeds over 30 knots on the strength of her eight boilers producing a combined thrust of 1,80,000 Shaft Horse power.
For the first time, the Naval communication satellite, Rukmini, was used to telecast live the events on board INS Vikramaditya. It was significant that the live telecast took place from a moving platform.