India's only operational aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will take part in the most complex Naval war games. INS Vikdramaditya will take on the US Navy F/A-18 E/F 'Super Hornet' fighters over the waters of the Bay of Bengal in less than a week from now.
Known as the Malabar exercises, for the first time the advanced Russian built carrier borne fighter MIG 29K will be pit against the US Super Hornet.
Let the games begin
In addition to Vikdramaditya, the Indian Navy will also deploy its most capable warships, submarines and maritime reconnaissance platforms including two Made-in-India Shivalik class stealth frigates, two Russian-built Ranvir class destroyers in addition to the indigenous Kamorta class anti-submarine warfare corvette and a Kora class multi-role corvette.
What Japan and US will bring
The US navy says that its USS Nimitz, the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton, guided-missile destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup and USS Kidd will form their fleet The fleet would also be supported by a P-8A Poseidon aircraft and a nuclear powered Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine.
Japan on the other hand would bring its helicopter carrier, the JS Izumo, a new class of warship. The Izumo will be supported by the JS Sazanami, a multi-role destroyer that defends the Izumo from aerial threats.
This exercise comes at a time when there are concerns being raised about the dramatic growth of the Chinese navy. The US and Japan have raised concerns about China's contentious presence in the South China Sea and Western Pacific region. India on the other hand has raised concerns about the presence of Chinese submaraines and warships in the Indian Ocean.
About INS Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya, the floating airfield has an overall length of about 284 meters and a maximum beam of about 60 meters, stretching as much as three football fields put together. Standing about 20 storeys tall from keel to the highest point, the sheer sight of this 44,500 tonnes mega structure of steel is awe inspiring. The ship has a total of 22 decks.
With over 1,600 personnel on board, Vikramaditya is literally a ‘Floating City'. Associated with this large population is a mammoth logistics requirement - nearly a lakh of eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice per month. With her complete stock of provisions, she is capable of sustaining herself at sea for a period of about 45 days. With a capacity of over 8,000 tonnes of LSHSD, she is capable of operations up to a range of over 7,000 nautical miles or 13000 kms.
The ship has the ability to carry over 30 aircraft comprising an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. The MiG 29K swing role fighter is the main offensive platform and provides a quantum jump for the Indian Navy's maritime strike capability. These fourth generation air superiority fighters provide a significant fillip for the Indian Navy with a range of over 700 nm (extendable to over 1,900 nm with inflight refueling) and an array of weapons including anti-ship missiles, Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets.