Naval Air: Indias Carrier Fleet Comes Together

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May 21, 2007: India announced that it will definitely have three aircraft carriers within ten years. This has been the plan for nearly a decade now, and includes the retirement of their only active aircraft carrier, the INS Virar, in five years.

India has operated carriers for decades, having initially acquired INS Vikrant from Britain in 1961. Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997. India acquired a second carrier, also from Britain, the Viraat, in 1986. It has since negotiated a deal to acquire the Admiral Gorshkov from Russia. The 45,000 ton Gorshkov will be renamed Vikramaditya when it enters service in the next two or three years. It will operate sixteen navalized MiG-29 fighters, plus some helicopters.

India is also building a 42,000 ton carrier, or Air Defense Ship (ADS) and will begin construction of a second one once the first one is launched. The first ADS ship is expected to enter service in 2012, and the second one in 2017. Each ADS ship will have a similar aircraft complement to the Vikramaditya.

 


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