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INS Vikramaditya to finally get air defence system

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INS Vikramaditya. A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): India's largest warship INS Vikaramaditya will finally get its own air defence system, courtesy another ship that may be decommissioned soon.

The Navy plans to transfer an Israeli Barak missile system from a Godavari-class ship to the aircraft carrier that was bought from the Russians.

This will be a shot in the arm for the over Rs 15,000- crore aircraft carrier that has been without a defence system, since it joined the Indian Navy in November 16, 2013.

"We have a plan to install a system from one of our ships, which perhaps may be decommissioned at a subsequent stage. The system is operational and we have certain plans," Vice-Admiral A V Subhedar, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition told reporters here.

The aircraft carrier does not have any self-defence weapons on board, barring a chaff and flare system.

An escort group of warships had been sent to Russia to bring the carrier to India.

The new installation will take place during the ongoing 'short refit' that is been carried out on the carrier at Karwar.

Interestingly, it does not even have a close-in weapon system (CIWS) to shoot down incoming air attacks at very close range.

Sources said a CIWS, again from a Godavari-class ship, will also be installed on it during the ongoing refit.

Vikramaditya, a floating airfield, has an overall length of about 284 metres and a maximum beam of about 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together.

Standing about 20 storeys tall from the keel to the highest point, the ship has a total of 22 decks and carries 1,600 personnel.

Its logistics requirements include nearly a lakh of eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice per month. With her complete stock of provisions, she is capable of sustaining herself at sea for about 45 days.

It is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier, which was purchased by India from Russia for the Indian Navy in 2013.

The ship has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary 1st century BC emperor.

Originally built as Baku and commissioned in 1987, the carrier served with the Soviet (until the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and Russian Navies before being decommissioned in 1996, it being too expensive to operate.

Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Subhedar said INS Vikrant, India's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), will be "undocked" by the end of May.

Undocking means placing the ship into the sea.

Vikrant was launched into the waters in 2013 but was redocked for erecting the island superstructure (for flight control systems) above its flight deck and the remaining underwater work.

Subhedar said both Cochin Shipyard and Indian Navy were working as a composite team to meet the targeted delivery date as per CCS sanction, which is December 2018.

He admitted that there were lot of challenges but added that Navy and the shipyard were confident of meeting the deadline.

The senior Naval officer said 95 per cent of the hull has been completed.

Talking about IAC-2, he said it was still in conceptual study state.

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