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Vikrant Museum Ship.jpg
INS Vikrant
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Hercules (R49)
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong/Harland and Wolff
Laid down: 12 November 1943
Launched: 22 September 1945
Commissioned: laid up before completion
Renamed: HMS Hercules (R11)
Fate: refitted/modernised and sold to India
Career (India)
Name: INS Vikrant (R11)
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong/Harland and Wolff
Commissioned: 4 March 1961
Decommissioned: 31 January 1997
Fate: decommissioned, preserved as a floating museum at Mumbai.
General characteristics
Type: Majestic-class light carrier
Displacement: 15,700 tons standard, 19,500 tons full load
Length: 192 m (630 ft) waterline, 213.3 metres (700 ft) extreme
Beam: 24.4 m (80 ft) waterline, 39 metres (128 ft) extreme
Draught: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Propulsion: 2 Parsons geared steam turbines 40,000 hp (30 MW), 4 Admiralty three-drum boilers
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 1,075 usual,
1,340 wartime
Armament: 16 × 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns (later reduced to 8)
Armor: none
Aircraft carried: Sea King Mk 42B and Mk 42C
HAL Chetak
Sea Harrier FRS.51
Breguet Alizé Br.1050

INS Vikrant (R11) (Hindi: विक्रान्‍त) (formerly HMS Hercules (R49))[1] was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy.

Her keel was laid down on 12 November 1943 by Vickers-Armstrong [2] on the Tyne and she was launched on 22 September 1945.

Contents

History

Completion work was carried out in Belfast but construction was suspended after the end of World War II and she was laid up for possible future use. Her pennant was changed from R49 to R11.

In January 1957 she was sold to India, and construction was completed at Harland and Wolff [3] with an extensively modernized design, including an angled deck with steam catapults, a modified island, and many other improvements.

The Vikrant, as seen from HMS Centaur - March 1962
Hawker Sea Hawk
The Alize Anti-Submarine Aircraft

The Indian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, commissioned her as INS Vikrant on 4 March 1961 while she was still at Belfast, Northern Ireland. The name Vikrant was taken from Sanskrit vikrānta meaning "stepped beyond", i.e. "courageous", "victorious". Her pennant was once again R11 in the Indian Navy. Captain Pritam Singh was the first commanding officer of the carrier.[4] She formally joined the Indian fleet at Bombay on 3 November 1961, when she was received at Ballard Pier by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other high-ranking dignitaries.

The Vikrant's initial air wing consisted of British Hawker Sea Hawk fighter-bombers and a French Alize anti-submarine aircraft. On 18 May 1961 the first jet landed on board, piloted by Lieutenant (later Admiral) R H Tahiliani.

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India-Pakistan Wars, 1965, 1971

In 1965, Pakistan claimed that it had sunk the Vikrant.[5] At the time, however, the ship was under refit in dry dock.

In June 1970, the Vikrant was immobilized at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, due to a crack in a water drum of one of the boilers. In March 1971 she was put through trials without use of the damaged boiler by routing steam from the forward machinery to the steam catapult. This enabled her to launch both the Sea Hawks as well as the Breguet Alizé.[6] These modifications turned out to be invaluable, enabling the Vikrant to enter combat despite the cracked boiler against East Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971[7][8]. Stationed off the Andaman & Nicobar islands along with Indian naval ships, INS Bramhaputra and INS Beas, the Vikrant redeployed towards Chittagong[9] at the outbreak of hostilities. On the morning of December 4, 1971, the eight Sea Hawk aircraft on the Vikrant launched an air raid on Cox's Bazaar from 60 nm (nautical miles) away. That evening, the air group struck Chittagong Harbor. Future strikes targeted Khulna and Mongla. A PTI message is supposed to have read, "Chittagong harbor ablaze as ships and aircraft of the (Pakistan) Eastern Naval Fleet bombed and rocketed. Not a single vessel can be put to sea from Chittagong." Air strikes continued until December 10, 1971.

Given naval intelligence that indicated the intent of the Pakistan Navy to break through the Indian Naval blockade using camouflaged merchant ships, the Sea Hawks struck shipping in the Chittagong and Cox's Bazar harbors, sinking or incapacitating most merchant ships there.

The PNS Ghazi submarine was deployed to sink the INS Vikrant. However, Ghazi sank off Visakhapatnam harbor under mysterious circumstances[10]. During the war the crew of Vikrant earned two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras.

Subsequent Service

Vikrant preserved as a museum ship in Mumbai with historic aircraft visible on the flight deck.

Vikrant was given an extensive refit, including new engines and modernization between 1979 and 3 January 1982. Between December 1982 and February 1983 she was refitted again to enable her to operate BAe Sea Harriers which replaced the Sea Hawk. After the retirement of the Breguet Alizé from carrier service in 1989, she received a 'ski jump' for more efficient use of her Sea Harriers.

Vikrant was India's only carrier for over twenty years, but by the early 1990s she was effectively out of service because of her poor condition. Even following major overhauls she was rarely put to sea. She was formally decommissioned on 31 January 1997 and is preserved as a museum at Mumbai. She is the only World War II-era British-built aircraft carrier to be preserved as a museum.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ The State of War in South Asia by Pradeep Barua
  2. ^ Pink ice: Britain and the South Atlantic Empire By Klaus Dodds
  3. ^ Aircraft Carriers: The World's Greatest Naval Vessels and Their Aircraft By Richard Jones, Chris Bishop, Chris Chant, Christopher Chant
  4. ^ AsiaRooms.com - Indian Museum Ship (Vikrant) Mumbai
  5. ^ GlobalSecurity.org - R 11 Vikrant
  6. ^ http://indiannavy.nic.in/t2t2e/Trans2Trimph/chapters/8_evolution%20naval%20planops.htm
  7. ^ Aircraft Carriers: The World's Greatest Naval Vessels and Their Aircraft By Richard Jones, Chris Bishop, Chris Chant, Christopher Chant
  8. ^ YouTube.com - Great battles : Liberation of Bangladesh 2 of 2
  9. ^ YouTube documentary
  10. ^ Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-first Century By Geoffrey Till

Bibliography

  • Ireland, Bernard. The Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Carriers of the World. Hermes House, London, 2005. ISBN 1-84477-747-2

External links



INS Vikrant
Career (UK)
Name:

HMS Hercules (R11)

Namesake: HMS Hercules
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong/Harland and Wolff
Laid down: 12 November 1943
Launched: 22 September 1945
Commissioned: laid up before completion
Renamed: HMS Hercules (R49)
Fate: refitted/modernised and sold to India
Career (India)
Name:

INS Vikrant

Builder: Vickers-Armstrong/Harland and Wolff
Commissioned: 4 March 1961
Decommissioned: 31 January 1997
Fate: decommissioned, preserved as a floating museum at Mumbai.
General characteristics

Type: Majestic-class light carrier
Displacement: 15,700 tons standard, 19,500 tons full load
Length: 192 m (630 ft) waterline, 213.3 metres (700 ft) extreme
Beam: 24.4 m (80 ft) waterline, 39 metres (128 ft) extreme
Draught: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Propulsion: 2 Parsons geared steam turbines 40,000 hp (30 MW), 4 Admiralty three-drum boilers
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 1,075 usual,
1,340 wartime
Armament: 16 × 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns (later reduced to 8)
Armor: none
Aircraft carried: Sea King Mk 42B and Mk 42C
HAL Chetak
Sea Harrier FRS.51
Breguet Alizé Br.1050

INS Vikrant (Hindi: विक्रान्‍त) (formerly HMS Hercules (R49))[1] was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy.

Her keel was laid down on 12 November 1943 by Vickers-Armstrong [2] on the Tyne and she was launched on 22 September 1945.

Contents

History

Completion work was carried out in Belfast but construction was suspended after the end of World War II and she was laid up for possible future use. Her pennant was changed from R11 to R49.

In January 1957 she was sold to India, and construction was completed at Harland and Wolff [3] with an extensively modernized design, including an angled deck with steam catapults, a modified island, and many other improvements.


The Indian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, commissioned her as INS Vikrant on 4 March 1961 while she was still at Belfast, Northern Ireland. The name Vikrant was taken from Sanskrit vikrānta meaning "stepped beyond", i.e. "courageous", "victorious". Captain Pritam Singh was the first commanding officer of the carrier[4]. She formally joined the Indian fleet at Bombay on 3 November 1961, when she was received at Ballard Pier by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other high-ranking dignitaries.

The Vikrant's initial air wing consisted of British Hawker Sea Hawk fighter-bombers and a French Alize anti-submarine aircraft. On 18 May 1961 the first jet landed on board, piloted by Lieutenant (later Admiral) R H Tahiliani.

India-Pakistan Wars, 1965, 1971

In 1965, Pakistan claimed that it had sunk the Vikrant.[5] At the time, however, the ship was under refit in dry dock.

Despite a crack in a boiler, she saw real combat against East Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971[6][7]. Stationed off the Andaman & Nicobar islands along with Indian naval ships, INS Bramhaputra and INS Beas, the Vikrant redeployed towards Chittagong[8] at the outbreak of hostilities. On the morning of December 4, 1971, the eight Sea Hawk aircraft on the Vikrant launched an air raid on Cox's Bazaar from 60 nm (nautical miles) away. That evening, the air group struck Chittagong harbor. Future strikes targeted Khulna and Mongla. A PTI message is supposed to have read, "Chittagong harbor ablaze as ships and aircraft of the (Pakistan) Eastern Naval Fleet bombed and rocketed. Not a single vessel can be put to sea from Chittagong". Air strikes continued until December 10, 1971.

Given naval intelligence that indicated the intent of the Pakistan Navy to break through the Indian Naval blockade using camouflaged merchant ships, the Sea Hawks struck shipping in the Chittagong and Cox's Bazar harbors, sinking or incapacitating most merchant ships there.

The PNS Ghazi submarine was deployed to sink the INS Vikrant. However, Ghazi sank off Visakhapatnam harbor under mysterious circumstances[9]. During the war the crew of Vikrant earned two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras.

Subsequent Service

Vikrant was given an extensive refit, including new engines and modernization between 1979 and 3 January 1982. Between December 1982 and February 1983 she was refitted again to enable her to operate BAe Sea Harriers which replaced the Sea Hawk. After the retirement of the Breguet Alizé from carrier service in 1989, she received a 'ski jump' for more efficient use of her Sea Harriers.

Vikrant was India's only carrier for over twenty years, but by the early 1990s she was effectively out of service because of her poor condition. Even following major overhauls she was rarely put to sea. She was formally decommissioned on 31 January 1997 and is preserved as a museum at Mumbai. She is the only World War II-era British-built aircraft carrier to be preserved as a museum.

Trivia

The Indian Navy band has a tune INS Vikrant commemorating the induction of this aircraft carrier into the fleet. The tune was composed by N M Wise, then Director of Music, Indian Navy.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ The State of War in South Asia by Pradeep Barua
  2. ^ Pink ice: Britain and the South Atlantic Empire By Klaus Dodds
  3. ^ Aircraft Carriers: The World's Greatest Naval Vessels and Their Aircraft By Richard Jones, Chris Bishop, Chris Chant, Christopher Chant
  4. ^ AsiaRooms.com - Indian Museum Ship (Vikrant) Mumbai
  5. ^ GlobalSecurity.org - R 11 Vikrant
  6. ^ Aircraft Carriers: The World's Greatest Naval Vessels and Their Aircraft By Richard Jones, Chris Bishop, Chris Chant, Christopher Chant
  7. ^ YouTube.com - Great battles : Liberation of Bangladesh 2 of 2
  8. ^ YouTube documentary
  9. ^ Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-first Century By Geoffrey Till

Bibliography

  • Ireland, Bernard. The Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Carriers of the World. Hermes House, London, 2005. ISBN 1-84477-747-2

External links


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