Following WWII, the Royal Navy of Great Britain sold a number of vessels, including a number of obsolete aircraft carriers. A former British carrier was operated by the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and India. Despite this, the Indian Navy now has a carrier from a country that isn’t recognised for such boats.
The INS Vikrant (IAC-1) will be commissioned later this year, while the INS Vikramadtiya, which began her carrier career as the Soviet Navy’s aviation cruiser Baku, will serve as the Indian Navy’s flagship.
The ship was an enhanced variation of the Kiev-class, and due to several enhancements such as a phased array radar, substantial electronic warfare equipment, and an increased command and control suite, it is sometimes regarded a different class. She was launched in 1982 and commissioned into the Soviet Navy in December 1987 after being laid down in 1978 at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444) in Ukraine.
The new command and control system’s software faults were largely to blame for the year-long delay in commissioning. She was one of the first Soviet warships to be equipped with such a sophisticated computer network.
In 1991, Baku was redesignated Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov after serving with the Soviet Navy. She remained in the Russian Navy until 1996, when she was decommissioned due to high running costs. The carrier had just recently returned to operation after receiving repairs following a two-year-old boiler room explosion.
Despite the challenges, the battleship, which has a length of 932 feet and a displacement of 45,000 tonnes when fully laden, proved to be a modern and capable carrier. She could carry a maximum of 36 aircraft, just like the other Kiev-class aircraft cruisers.
Baku’s air wing consisted of a squadron of twelve Yak-38 ‘Forger’ V/STOL aircraft, a dozen Ka-27 ‘Helix-A’ ASW/SAR helicopters, and two Ka-31 ‘Helix’ AEW helicopters, as originally planned. The eye-catching new Cake Stand TACAN aided flight operations.
Sold To India
Because Moscow was unable to maintain the battleship, it sought international purchasers, and in January 2004, the carrier was sold to India for $2.3 billion. It was then upgraded at Sevmash Enterprise. She was renamed INS Vikramaditya and commissioned into the Indian Navy on November 16, 2013, before entering duty in June of the following year.
Her present air force comprises of ten Kamov Ka-31 AEW&C or Kam Ka-28 ASW helicopters and ten Russian-built Mikoyan MiG-29K multirole jet fighters.