Refitted ‘Viraat’ more lethal

ABOARD INS VIRAAT: The Indian Navy’s largest warship, INS Viraat, having served the nation for 25 years, has been given a new lease of life with its service being extended to 2018. The vessel

Published: 06th May 2012 05:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2012 10:16 PM   |  A+A-

ABOARD INS VIRAAT: The Indian Navy’s largest warship, INS Viraat, having served the nation for 25 years, has been given a new lease of life with its service being extended to 2018. The vessel is as tall as a 13-storey building and has several essential services and recreational features for its 1,200 strong crew. It has a huge library and even a daily newspaper-Viraat Times - is published aboard.

A typical day on the Viraat begins at 6.15 am with tea; soon after a bugle is followed by an announcement: “All personnel to be on deck for PT.” Routine duties and training programmes keep the men busy till 5.30 pm, when most sailors disembark. A complement of 60 men stays behind. At daybreak, the sailors get ready for work. But not before breakfast. This is where Master Chief Petty Officer Balram Debnath comes in. Debnath rises at 4 am and gets the galley going. It’s not just poori-sabzi or dal-roti here; the galley’s cooks can make finger-licking good Thai and Chinese food. “Breakfast has to be served at 6.30 am and lunch at 11.15 am whether the ship is sailing or not,” says Debnath. His men have hi-tech tools like the chapatti maker which can churn out around 8,000 chapattis in an hour. The ship’s in-house bakery makes fresh cakes. The ship sails with rations enough for two months at sea.

Mast Chief Officer Avatar Singh Rawat is an old Viraat hand, one of the crew that sailed the aircraft carrier from the UK to India. He served on it for six years, and has been transferred back after Viraat’s two major life-extending refits. Asked what has changed, he beams: “Now we even get television signals at sea.” Viraat is now a modern ship, with swanky cabins, more open spaces and easy-to-maintain floors. There’s even a rooster on board which came with the trophy when the Viraat won the Pulling Boat Regatta.

Viraat can handle nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. There’s a hi-tech headquarter on board to deal with such situations. “From 1987 to now Viraat has got the best of radars that can pick up the incoming missile at extended ranges. We also have an electronic warfare system. Our best weapons are the aircraft equipped with Derby air-to-air missiles and 1,000-pound bombs. The Viraat has also recently acquired a self defence capability with Israeli Barak missiles,” says Commander Manoj Jha, the Executive Officer. Isn’t she too old for this sort of thing? Says Jha: “She may be old in years but her lethality has only increased.”

With the Admiral Gorshkov coming to India as the INS Vikramaditya in a year or two, and the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant by 2015, India may have three such lethal carriers soon.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tamil Nadu news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp