INS Vikramaditya: India’s Largest Aircraft Carrier –

INS Vikramaditya, India’s flagship aircraft carrier, is a modernized Kiev-class carrier that entered service in 2013. Its name translates from Hindi as Valour (Vikram) of the Sun (Aditya). In this article, we will explore the history and capabilities of INS Vikramaditya.

Top view of INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier with fighter planes and helicopters on its deck
INS Vikramaditya is the largest aircraft carrier in India

History of INS Vikramaditya

Initially named Baku, INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 1987 and operated with the Soviet Navy before being decommissioned in 1996. After years of negotiations, India purchased the aircraft carrier for $2.35 billion in 2004. 

The ship passed its sea and aviation trials in July and September 2013, respectively, and was formally commissioned on November 16, 2013, in Severodvinsk, Russia. The then Indian Prime Minister dedicated it to the country on June 14, 2014.

INS Vikramaditya Specifications

With a length of 284 meters (930 feet), a displacement of 45,000 tons, and 22 decks, INS Vikramaditya is an impressive warship. It carries the MiG-29K carrier-borne fighters, ten Kamakov Ka-31 AWEC helicopters, and the anti-submarine Ka-28. 

The vessel can carry over 30 long-range multi-role fighters with anti-ship missiles, air-to-air missiles, guided bombs, and rockets.

Conversion of Admiral Gorshkov

The INS Vikramaditya was converted from the Russian Navy’s decommissioned Admiral Gorshkov VTOL missile cruiser carrier. The vessel was extensively modified, with new engine systems, hull sections, sensors, and the flight deck installed during the rebuild. 

The INS Vikramaditya went into service in May 2014 with a full complement of MiG-29 aircraft.

INS Vikramaditya History

The carrier, initially called Baku and was launched in the early 1980s, served the Soviet Navy from 1987 until 1991.
However, the vessel’s value in the East European bloc did not continue beyond the early 1990s due to the breakup of the Soviet Socialist Republic. Operating the ship on a post-Cold War budget proved prohibitively expensive.
After four years in the Russian Navy as an Admiral Gorshkov-class carrier, the vessel was decommissioned in 1996. Since then, India’s government has been talking with Russia to buy Admiral Gorshkov.
INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier sailing at sea with fighter planes on its deck.

In addition, in 2004, India and Russia reached a significant naval agreement that included the aircraft carrier becoming part of the Indian Navy.

Future of India’s Aircraft Carriers

India is building another aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which is currently undergoing sea testing and slated to enter service between May and August 2022, with aircraft trials starting in mid-2023. The INS Vikrant is expected to be larger and more powerful than the INS Vikramaditya.


INS Vikramaditya is a formidable warship and the pride of the Indian Navy. Its history, specifications, and capabilities make it an impressive addition to India’s naval fleet. 

As India continues to strengthen its navy, the INS Vikrant will join the INS Vikramaditya in defending the country’s interests and securing its borders.

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