INS Vikramaditya the biggest ship to be operated by the Indian Navy, a floating airfield, city in the sea. The perfect power projector India and always ready to guard the troubled Indian Ocean waters. Entering the Indian Navy service in 2013, the Aircraft Carrier is now scheduled for a minor re-fit in its home port, Karwar.
The ship was inducted without the all crucial CIWS (Close in Weapon System) or the PMDS (Point Missile Defence Systems) which can engage any kind of objects varying from missiles, UAV's to aircraft's. Being huge floating airfields the carriers cannot steer as easily as the destroyers or the frigates. The defensive suite of a carrier has a very limited range with a few kilometers ranging from 0-10 kilometers where as the frigates and destroyers enjoy a range of around 0-80 kilometers.
The ship has now anchored in its home port INS Kadamba,Karwar for its scheduled minor re-fit after serving the navy for two long years. The ship will now be armed with the all crucial defensive suite which includes installing Barak1 missiles and AK 63O CIWS systems and also including the radar and the associated control systems for operating the defensive suite.
The Barak-1 PMDS is an imported missile system from Israel and Indian Navy has placed this reliable system on all its front line warships and this system will be replaced by the more powerful Barak 8 system which is a jointly developed product of the DRDO and IAI. Vikramaditya will armed with 24 (3x8) VLS Barak-1 missiles.
The system has been acquired from the soon to be decommissioned frigate INS Godavari, the EL/M-2221 STGR fire control radar which is the primary target acquisition module for the Barak-1 system will also be imported from the aging frigate. INS Godavari was built in1983, and had adopted the Bark-1 systems in 2005.
The Barak-1 has a good shelf life and can hence be used in the modern battlefield against any incoming threats. INS Godavari will also be shedding its four AK 630 CIWS system which was also added to the ship only after 2005. Unlike Barak-1 the AK 630 was produced by the state run OFB (Ordnance Factory Board) under licence from Russia.
Russia had offered Kashtan CIWS which comes with two or four SR SAM missiles, but India had declined this offer. Rumors of India opting the American Phalnx CIWS was also adrift but was swiftly downplayed by sources stating no such tender was called and there was no tender for arming Vikramaditya with these systems.
Although media reports of arming Vikramaditya with the more advanced Barak-8 system it looks doubtful with IN fitting out the ship with the EL/M-2221 STGR which cannot be further linked with the Barak 8 systems.
The Scheduled Refit will mean Vikramaditya will taste the waters after a brief four to six month dry docking schedule. Vikramaditya will surely be missed of the Indian waters but is promised to return with more advanced systems to counter any threats it’ll face in the near future. yes we know we can build anything Faster, Just like LCA