INS Vikramaditya to sail to Mumbai & Vizag
Operational training from January 16

By SP's Special Correspondent
Photo Credit: Indian Navy

January 13, 2014: With INS Vikramaditya settling in at home-base Karwar, it will soon be time for the crew, led by Commodore Suraj Berry, to set out to sea again. If sources are to be believed, the 44,000 ship will up anchor and commence on a routine of operational training exercises in the Arabian Sea from January 16 with ships from the Western Fleet. The exercise will carry on for at least a fortnight, after which, the vessel is likely to sail to Mumbai for a formal reception that could see even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in attendance. The ship will also sail to Visakhapatnam from Mumbai after planned ceremonials.

On its voyage to India, the Vikramaditya conducted basic exercises at sea with the Indian destroyers, frigates and tanker that escorted it across the Arabian Sea. So far unweaponised, the ship still has a long way to go before it is the operational platform it is intended to be. According to top Indian Navy sources, apprehensions about the platform's performance in tropical waters—its first time ever—have been belied by the smoothe passage of the ship into much warmer waters than it is used to. Over the next three-four months, the crew of INS Vikramaditya, along with the 75-strong Russian guarantee team, will put the ship through the paces through the searing Indian summer to confirm all performance parameters at forbidding temperatures out at sea.