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The Indian Aircraft Carrier Vikrant and the 1971 War

February 05, 2012  by: Madan G Singh  Points: 6   Category: Others    Views: 490

The aircraft carrier Vikrant did yeoman service during the war in East Pakistan


excellent strategic move and laid the foundation of a blue water navy. More important it showed that the top Indian naval brass appreciated the concept air power and Guillio Douhet's concept of a favorable air situation in a battle.

The Indian navy acquired the HMS Hermes a light carrier from the British Royal Navy. This was vintage World war II carrier and could operate 24 aircraft. The carrier was upgraded and sea hawk strike aircraft were inducted for operation from this carrier.

The carrier was made part of the Western Naval fleet with its headquarters at Bombay. But in early 1970 the carrier was assigned to the Eastern fleet at Vizagapatnam. With the worsening war situation in the eastern theater, the carrier was East Pakistan.ordered to go into action against the Pakistan navy in East Pakistan.

The task of the Vikrant was to enforce a blockade of East Pakistan as well as to neutralize the Pakistan naval base at Chittagong. The Vikrant went into action on 3 dec 1971. Its sea hawks bombed the Chittagong port, which was made inoperative. The small Pakistan complement of motor boats and a some assorted warships were sunk.

News was now recieved that President Nixon had ordered the nuclear powered aircraft carrier Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal. The Vikrant got ready to face the Enterprise. But the Pakistan forces surrendered in East Pakistan and the anticipated clash did not take place.

The Vikrant was retired from the navy in early eighties and serves as a war museum at Bombay.


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