INS Vikramaditya Ready To Go Back To Sea After ‘Refit Works’

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The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has successfully completed its first routine maintenance, a 43-day short refit, at the Cochin Shipyard, and is at a high level of operational competence and preparedness, according to the ship’s Commanding Officer Captain Krishna Swaminathan.
The maiden dry-docking of the vessel after its induction into the Navy in November, 2013, had put to rest apprehensions about the feasibility of carrying out its first cycle of underwater maintenance within India, he told the media on board Vikramaditya,
The ship arrived in Kochi in early September, and was dry-docked at Cochin Shipyard on September 23 close on the heels of the soon-to-be-retired aircraft carrier INS Viraat was undocked following its decommissioning refit.
“After the first cycle of preventive maintenance, which involved a thorough inspection of the carrier’s underwater package, was over, the vessel was undocked on November 5. Vikramaditya, a steamship, has a large number of pipes and underwater openings. The hull plates that are in contact with the corrosive medium of seawater – all got inspected,” said Capt. Swaminathan.
National capability
The vessel, he said, added a great national capability, enhancing the image of the Navy. All systems, including the long range surface to air missile (LR-SAM), the close-in weapon system (CIWS), the main gun were all in place and the process of exploiting the capabilities of the carrier and its air arm had come a long way with the ship’s company and the systems integrating well.
To a question, Capt. Swaminathan said there were initial apprehensions about dry-docking the vessel in Kochi as there were technical challenges posed by the depth of the channel, which was eventually dredged to a desired level, and the length of the carrier overshot the yard’s dry-dock length by a few metres.
“We had to a do a lot of calculations and Cochin Shipyard, with its experience of taking care of Viraat through its operational life, has done a good job.”
Madhu S. Nair, Chairman and Managing Director of Cochin Shipyard, told The Hindu that concerted effort by all stakeholder agencies —the shipyard, various units of the Navy, the Dredging Corporation of India, the Cochin Port and the ICTT, Vallarpadam — enabled it to complete the refit well on time. “More than project management, a sense of commitment and pride helped everyone work in tandem to do the job, a first for all.” Ahead of the induction day (November 16) of the carrier (with the pennant number R33), 33 personnel from the ship’s company carried out a 33-km run on Friday morning.
Vikramaditya will soon depart Kochi on operational deployment.

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