Goa: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the prowess of INS Vikramaditya Saturday with naval aircraft, including MiG 29K, displaying operational capabilities on the Indian Navy’s largest and most powerful warship.
The prime minister, during his first visit to a military facility, is also scheduled to meet and interact with the crew on board INS Vikramaditya and address the officers and sailors of the navy.
On his arrival, Modi will be received at INS Hansa (naval air station in Goa) by Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan, and will be given a ceremonial guard of honour.
During his “day at seat” with the Western Naval Command fleet, Modi will witness air power demonstration by various naval aircraft, including MiG 29K, Sea Harriers, P8 I long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, TU 142M, IL 38 SD, Dorniers, Kamov and Sea King helicopters.
He will also watch high-speed manoeuvres by the western fleet ships, including aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi class destroyers and Talwar class frigates.
The prime minister will also witness take-off and arrestor wire landing operations and high-speed low-level operations of MiG 29K integral fighters on board the flight deck of INS Vikramaditya.
Modi’s visit to Goa, where he will take part in a series of events, will also be his first domestic visit since he became the prime minister last month.
The 44,500-tonne INS Vikramaditya, procured from Russia, is one of the newest acquisitions of the Indian Navy and the most powerful symbol of its military reach. It was commissioned by then defence minister A.K. Antony last November at Russia’s Sevmash shipyard.
INS Vikramaditya has an overall length of 284 metres and a beam of 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together. Standing about 20 storeys tall from keel to the highest point, the vessel has 22 decks.
With over 1,600 personnel on board, Vikramaditya is literally a floating city. Linked to the personnel on board is mammoth logistics requirement – nearly 100,000 eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice, to name just a few, per month.
The warship has the abilitiy to carry 30 aircraft, including an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, and Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.
The MiG 29K aircraft, the main offensive platform on the warship, provides a quantum jump to the Indian Navy’s maritime strike capabilities as they can carry an array of weapons, including anti-ship missiles, beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets.
During his visit to Goa, Modi is expected to announce some development projects for the state that has played a crucial role in his political career.
Goa has been eventful for Modi as it was here at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s conclave last year that he was declared the head of the party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, paving the way for him to be later declared prime ministerial candidate.
It was also the BJP’s meet in Goa in 2002 that decided that Modi should continue as the Gujarat chief minister despite suggestions he should resign in the wake of the post-Godhra riots in the state.