For all the debates over its price, utility and delay in induction, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is sure to serve the Navy for at least 30 years, says a senior technical officer of the Navy.

“The entry of the Vikramaditya marks a paradigm shift, as it heralds a new era in carrier operations in the Indian Navy. The way it has been rebuilt and equipped with advanced systems and machinery will ensure that it plods on for another 30 to 40 years,” Rear Admiral S. Madhusudanan, Admiral Superintendent of the Naval Ship Repair Yard (NSRY) in Kochi, told The Hindu.

Rear Admiral Madhusudanan headed the Navy’s inspection group that monitored the conversion of derelict Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov into the Vikramaditya at Russia’s Sevmash Shipyard.

“It is not a question of the hull alone. Its air component, electronic suites and other equipment are all state-of-the-art,” he said, but declined to comment on reports about the carrier bracing for induction without a close-in-weapon system (CIWS) or missile defence. “Yes, there are certain issues there,” was how he put it.

(While the long-range surface-to-air missile — LR-SAM a.k.a Barak 8 — jointly developed by India and Israel is unlikely to be ready for induction in the next couple of years, delay in the development of the missile has already derailed commissioning of the Kolkata-class destroyers — the AK-630 CIWS is slated for integration aboard the Vikramaditya in a year or so.)

Rear Admiral Madhusudanan is elated about the forthcoming launch of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier that will carry the legacy of India’s first carrier, INS Vikrant by taking on the name.

“INS Vikrant is a name that stands out. No other Indian warship has enjoyed the status it had, both in terms of combat proficiency and its reflection of the nation’s history,” said the Rear Admiral, who had served aboard the Vikrant and was part of the commissioning crew of INS Viraat.

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