INS Vikrant: Exploring the Rich History and Significance of India’s Maritime Legacy

INS Vikrant: India possesses an illustrious and abundant maritime legacy. This richness stems from the nation’s turbulent and varied past in addition to its rich culture and traditions. The British Empire, which was the most recent empire to rule the country before it attained independence, was one of many that did so. Furthermore, because of the country’s unique geographic location, which creates a sizable maritime channel, naval boats have been integral to the nation’s military history.

When reciting a list of Indian naval ships, INS Vikrant is one name that sticks out. The aircraft carrier’s name, Vikrant, which the then-high commissioner Vijaylakshmi Pandit gave it in 1961, is a Sanskrit word for bravery and invulnerability.

Before and After the Indian Commissioning

The ship, which was built at the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard and was formerly known as HMS Hercules, was launched in 1945 as a member of the Majestic Class of vessels built by Great Britain. But even before she was put into active operational service, the ship was taken out of active naval service as World War II came to a close.

Later, in 1957, Hercules was sold to the Indian Navy. The warship spent four years in the Irish Harland and Wolff shipyard being upgraded to meet Indian needs before it was formally launched as a part of the Indian navy force.

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Three aircraft made up the INS ship’s fleet: the French anti-submarine plane Alize, and the British Sea Hawk bomber jets. The flight carrier was considered a light attack air fleet carrier due to the fighter planes’ modest capacitance.

History of Warfare

History of Warfare of INS Vikrant
(Credit: Wikipedia)

Not everyone was in favor of the Indian navy’s introduction of air carriers. At the time, a number of senior Indian army officials expressed doubts about the British warship’s performance, and Russian diplomats questioned India’s decision to choose it.

Reputable maritime history sources state that the Pakistani navy claimed to have destroyed the jet carrier in 1961. This was only a rumor because the ship was being maintained regularly at the Mumbai (formerly Bombay) shipyard, not being used in the active line of duty at the time.

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But the Indo-Pak War of 1971 was the real test for INS Vikrant. Due to severe issues with one of its boilers, the INS ship was forced to operate at a reduced pace, which may have hampered the vessel’s full capabilities during the critical period. Notwithstanding the boiler issues, the aviation vessel played a significant role in the nation’s resounding victory in the 1971 war.

The warship’s engines, boilers, and other technical equipment underwent extensive overhauls in the years that followed. Its fleet of ships changed as well, with the Alize boats being rendered obsolete and the Harriers joining the fleet. However, the aircraft carrier was removed from active service duty in 1997, at the beginning of the late 21st century, due to performance inability.

After De-Commissioning Life

Even after being decommissioned, INS Vikrant has continued to draw fans from around the nation. The Indian government put out a proposal to turn the ship into a floating museum after realizing how well-liked it was. Currently, the Indian Museum Ship, or IMS Vikrant, is the new designation for the INS ship, which is grounded close to the Gateway of India, a famous landmark in Mumbai.

INS Vikrant Specifications

  • The Indian Navy ship’s top speed was approximately 25 knots, but later on, technical issues caused it to slow down to roughly 12 knots.
  • The ship’s dimensions were 192 meters in length, 24.4 meters in beam, and 7.3 meters in draft.
  • The ship received two Mahavir Chakras and twelve Vir Chakras, Indian military medals of honor, for its valor during a period of great need and significance.

No other combat vessel in the history of the Indian Navy has attained the level of status that the INS warship has. The battle vessel merits great appreciation for both her distinguished past and the vivid image of history it presents today.

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