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Aero India 2023

Warships to escort INS Vikramaditya from Moscow

NEW DELHI (PTI): Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will not have any air defence systems on board to protect itself from aerial attacks while coming home from Russia and the Navy has sent warships to escort it safely.

To provide it protection from aerial attacks, the Navy has chosen the controversial Barak missiles, which will be integrated with the aircraft carrier only after it reaches India.

"The aircraft carrier Vikramaditya does not have its own air defence missile system. We have chosen the Barak missile to be fitted on board once it arrives in India," a Navy official said.

The escort group of warships has been sent to Russia to bring the carrier to India through a classified route to its home base in the Arabian Sea, they said.

It is believed that the escort group also includes underwater vessels for providing security to the warship.

The Barak missiles, the Navy's choice for the aircraft carrier, are also in controversy in view of an ongoing CBI probe against them in connection with an alleged bribery scandal in 2006.

The Defence Acquisition Council, the apex defence ministry body for deciding on acquisitions, has also formed an independent committee to take a decision on whether to buy the missiles or not.

Defence Minister A K Antony will induct the long-delayed aircraft carrier into the Navy in a shipyard in Russia, where the second-hand warship has been undergoing refurbishment for the last over six years.

The Navy has plans of bringing the warship to India and deploy it at the newly-developed Karwar naval base called Project Seabird.

The warship, which was given for 'free' to India in 2004, is ultimately going to cost more than Rs 12,000 crore to the nation.

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