Indian Navy conducts mega exercise in Arabian Sea; two aircraft carriers, more than 35 combat jets involved : The Tribune India

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Indian Navy conducts mega exercise in Arabian Sea; two aircraft carriers, more than 35 combat jets involved

The exercise involves ‘seamless integration’ of two aircraft carriers—INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant

Indian Navy conducts mega exercise in Arabian Sea; two aircraft carriers, more than 35 combat jets involved

It is for the first time that the Navy is operating two carriers, with both having contemporary technology – similar long range radars, same fighter jets, sensors and a matching aviation complex.



Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, June 10

The Indian Navy has carried out operations to integrate both its sea-going carriers – the INS Vikramaditya and the INS Vikrant—participating in an exercise in the Arabian Sea.

The Indian Navy on Saturday described the exercise as a “coordinated deployment of more than 35 aircraft in the Arabian Sea”.

The exercise involved ‘seamless integration’ of two aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and the indigenously built INS Vikrant, along with a diverse fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft, showcasing India’s technological expertise in the maritime domain, the Navy said.

INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, centre-pieces of the exercise, serve as ‘floating sovereign airfields’, providing a launch platform for a wide array of aircraft, including MiG-29K fighter jets, MH60R, Kamov, Sea King, Chetak and ALH helicopters.

These warships can be positioned anywhere, allowing for increased mission flexibility, timely response to emerging threats and sustained air operations to safeguard our national interests across the globe. In addition, they provide our friends with an assurance that the Indian Navy is capable and ready to support our ‘collective’ security needs in the region.

“The successful demonstration of two-carrier battle group operations serves as a powerful testament to the pivotal role of sea-based air power in maintaining maritime superiority,” the Navy said.

It is for the first time that the Navy is operating two carriers, with both having contemporary technology – similar long-range radars, same fighter jets, sensors and a matching aviation complex.

India got to operate its first carrier in 1961. The HMS Hercules, sourced secondhand from the UK, was re-named ‘INS Vikrant’. It played an important role during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, on the eastern front before getting decommissioned in 1997.

India’s second carrier, HMS Hermes, also sourced secondhand from the UK, was re-named INS Viraat. Inducted in 1987, it was decommissioned in 2017. In November 2013, Admiral Gorshkov, was refitted and partially recast to be made into a carrier as per Indian specifications and was renamed INS Vikramaditya.

In the past, India operated two UK-origin carriers together between 1987 and 1997, but then both were more than 35 years old and far behind to what the world was using at that time. Again from 2013 to 2017, India had two carriers—the INS Vikramaditya and the INS Viraat. However, the latter was by then on extended life and older technology.

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