INS Viraat: Wikis


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INS Viraat (R22) Malabar 07.jpg
Career (India)
Name: INS Viraat
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong
Launched: 16 February 1953
Acquired: bought from UK, May 1987
Decommissioned: 2019 (expected)[1]
Refit: April 1986, July 1999, August 2008-November 2009
Motto: Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah (Sanskrit: "I completely defeat those who dare fight me")
Status: completed refit
General characteristics
Class and type: Centaur class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 23,900 tons standard
28,700 tons full load
Length: 226.5 metres (743 ft)
Beam: 48.78 metres (160.0 ft)
Draught: 8.8 metres (29 ft)
Propulsion: 2 x Parsons geared steam turbines; 4 boilers with 400 psi, 76,000 shp
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h)
Range: 6,500 miles (10,500 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: Maximum 2,100;
1,207 ship's crew,
143 air crew
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 x BEL/Signaal RAWL 02 air radar
1 x RAWS 08 air/surface radar
2 x BEL Rashmi navigation radars
1 x EL/M-2221 STGR fire control radar
1 x Plessey Type 904 radar
1 x FT 13-S/M Tacan system
1 x Graseby Type 184M hull-mounted sonar
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
1 x BEL Ajanta ESM
2 x Knebworth Corvus chaff launchers

2 x 40mm Bofors AA guns

16 x Barak SAM VL cells
Aircraft carried:

Up to 30
Normally 28 aircraft, including

INS Viraat (R22) (Sanskrit: विराट, Virāṭ. "Giant" ) is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier currently in service with the Indian Navy. INS Viraat is the flagship of the Indian Navy, the oldest carrier in service and one of two aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean Region.

The Viraat was built in 1959 as the Royal Navy's HMS Hermes, and transferred to India in 1987. In 2009 there were reports[citation needed] that, after the current round of repairs was concluded, India might keep the aircraft carrier in service until 2019. By then, the warship would have completed 60 years of service, over twice its initially estimated sailing life of 25 years. At that time the two Indigenous Aircraft Carriers (IACs) seemed likely to be fully operational, which was the reason to keep Viraat operational until then, according to un-named Navy officers.[1]




Royal Navy Service

INS Viraat was originally commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959. During her career as Hermes, she served as the flagship of the Royal Navy's task force during the Falkland Islands campaign in 1982. She would serve the Royal Navy another three years until she was struck from active duty in 1985.

Induction into Indian Navy

After evaluating vessels from several countries, particularly the Garibaldi class of Italian ships,[2] the Indian Navy purchased the vessel in April 1986[3] and gave it an extensive refit at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, England, to allow for continued operability into the next decade[4]. New fire control equipment, navigation radars, improved NBC protection, and deck landing aids were installed in this refit. Boilers were converted to operate on distillate fuel.

First Mid-service Refit

In September 1993, the engine room of Viraat flooded, putting the vessel out of service for several months. By 1995, the vessel was back in service and had a new search radar.

Second Mid-service Refit

Between July 1999 and April 2001, INS Viraat completed another life-extension refit which was expected to extend her serviceability until 2010. This refit upgraded propulsion systems, added a package of sensors to sound emergency alerts, and introduced modern communication systems. In addition, long-range surveillance radar, weapon systems, and new hangar with fire curtains was installed. The lift system was revamped to reduce reaction time in the event of an attack and a new flood alarm system was installed. In early June 2001 Viraat returned to service after nearly two years of refit.

The vessel also took part in the International Fleet Review in Mumbai in February 2001. Wing commander Ashoka Padmanabhan flew the Tigermoth-B970 past its deck anchored at 1.5 nautical km from the Gateway of India.

Third Mid-service Refit

The vessel had to be towed back to dry dock for another refit in mid-2003 and returned to service only in November 2004, during which the vessel was fitted with the Barak SAM[5][6].

Indian Navy Sea Harriers and IAF SEPECAT Jaguars with USN F/A-18F Super Hornet fly past INS Viraat.

Fourth Mid-service Refit

Viraat underwent a fourth refit in Indian service from January to August 2009 at Cochin Shipyard, Kochi, India.[7] This refit is expected to ensure its continued service in the Indian Navy until 2015. Viraat will go through exercises in the Arabian Sea for a month and a half before being deployed to the Gulf of Aden.[7][8]

Decommissioning Plans

In 2004, India bought the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov [9] from Russia for US$1.5 billion including its complement of aircraft.[10] It is expected to enter service in 2013-2014 as INS Vikramaditya. Viraat was expected to be replaced by 2011–2012 by a new Vikrant class carrier that the Vikramaditya represents. But now, since Viraat has had its engine and hull refurbished, and its electronics upgraded, it can serve until 2019. That would mean sixty years in service.[1]


Viraat is fitted with a 12° ski jump to operate the Sea Harrier[11], a reinforced flight deck, 1.2 inches (3 cm) of armour over magazines and machinery spaces. The magazine capacity includes 80+ lightweight torpedoes. The vessel retains commando transport capability, for around 750 troops and carries four LCVP landing craft aft. In a wartime scenario, the INS Viraat can embark up to 18 combat aircraft. INS Viraat is ideally suited for two missions: supporting amphibious operations and conducting ASW operations. Despite its age and range considerations, INS Viraat can effectively project naval and air power anywhere in the South Asia region.

Air Group

Combat Data Systems

The ship has been fitted with

  • Italian SELEX (former ELMER) communication suites
  • CAAIS action data automation; Link 10
  • SATCOM systems


See also


External links


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