INS Viraat World’s Oldest Aircraft Carrier in Service ,Indian Navy
INS Viraat is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier in service with the Indian Navy. INS Viraat was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013.Born in November 1959 as HMS Hermes, INS Viraat is one of the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the history of naval operations anywhere in the world and is one of three carriers based in the Indian Ocean region.
The Project was laid down on 21 June 1944 and the Aircraft carrier was launched in 16 February 1953.The INS Viraat was commissioned in 1959 as the Royal Navy’s HMS Hermes and was transferred to India in 1987.She was commissioned on 12 May 1987.
In 2009 there were reports after that year’s refit that India might keep the aircraft carrier in service util 2020. However, the warship’s age and cost of maintenance later prompted naval headquarters to consider decommissioning Viraat by 2017 or sooner.
In February 2015, the navy announced plans to decommission Viraat in 2016, and began the process to obtain Defence Ministry clearance for the carrier’s decommissioning. In July 2015, it was announced that Viraat would be transferred to the Andhra Pradesh state government for conversion into a museum ship and tourist attraction, at a cost of ₹20 crore (US$3 million). She will be docked at Kakinada.
INS Viraat is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier of displacement 23,900 tons standard and 28,700 tons at full load.It has length of 226.5 m,Beam length of 48.78 m and draught of 8.8m.The Warship has maximum crew capacity of 1207 and air crew of 143.
INS Viraat has the rare distinction of being commanded by three officers who rose up to become the chiefs of Indian Navy.
Engine, Propulsion and Electronic warfare
INS Viraat is propelled by 2 x Parsons geared steam turbines;4 boilers with 400 psi.The warship has maximum speed of 28 knots (52 km/h).It has operational range of 6500 mi at 14 knots. In the last 25 years, INS Viraat has done over 40,000 hours of steaming and traversed over 5,00,000 nautical miles across the proverbial seven seas. The ship has undertaken over 20,000 hours of flying from its deck.
The INS Viraat equipped with 1 x Bel Ajanta Esm Electronic warfare and 2 x Knebworth Corvus Chaff launchers .
The warship is integrated with 1x BEL/Signal RAWL 02 air radar,1 x RAWS 08 air/surface radar,2 x BEL Rashmi navigation radar,1 x El/M-2221 STGR fire control radar,1x Plessey type 904 radar and 1 x FT 13-S/M Tacan system.It also equipped with 1 x Graseby type 184M hull-mounted sonar.
The Ship is also integrated with Italian SELEX Communication suites,CAAIS Action data automation Link 10 and SATCOM Systems.
Armaments and Air Group
INS Viraat is armed with 2 x 40mm bofors AA guns,16 x Barak Surface to air missile Vertical launcher cells and 2 x twin AK-230 CIWS. Viraat is fitted with a 12° ski jump to operate the Sea Harrier,a reinforced flight deck, and 1.2 inches (3 cm) of armour over the magazines and machinery spaces. The magazine capacity includes at least 80 lightweight torpedoes.
The vessel retains commando transport capability for up to 750 troops and carries four LCVP landing craft in the aft section. In a wartime scenario, the INS Viraat can embark up to 26 combat aircraft.
- Fleet Defence – Sea Harrier FRS51
- Airborne Early Warning – Kamov Ka-31 Helix-B
- ASW/ASV – Sea King Mk. 42B and Kamov Ka-28 Helix-A
- Commando Assault and Vertical Replenishment – Sea King Mk. 42C
INS Viraat has Four Squadrons on Board
- INAS 300 “White Tigers” – flying Sea Harriers.
- INAS 552 “The Braves” – flying Sea Harriers.
- INAS 321 “Angels” – flying Alouette III(or Chetak).
- INAS 330 “Harpoons” – flying Sea Kings.