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Thousands Brave Heat, Long Queues To Board 'INS Viraat'

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Manmohan Yadav, Jun 24, 2012.

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  1. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    Braving the scorching sun and serpentine queues, curious visitors waited for hours at Port Sultan Qaboos yesterday to get an opportunity to board INS Viraat, the pride of Indian Navy and India's only aircraft carrier.

    The maiden port call of INS Viraat, which docked at Port Sultan Qaboos on Thursday, shows the growing strategic relations between India and Oman.
    The aircraft carrier's two-day port visit generated "great pride and enthusiasm-Â￾ in the roughly 1,000-strong group of officers and sailors on board.

    [​IMG]

    Speaking to the media, Captain Ajendra Bahadur Singh, commanding officer of INS Viraat, said that the visit of the ship signifies close and strategic partnership between the two countries.

    "We have a great bilateral relationship with the Sultanate of Oman. The ship is here for this very reason. We are out on a deployment mission. We have come here to take some fuel and rations. We are currently deployed in the Indian Ocean,-Â￾ Captain Singh said. "It is with deep sense of honour and privilege that we have come here. Therefore, it is a great feeling to be here,-Â￾ he added.

    INS Viraat is also one of the longest serving aircraft carriers in the history of naval operations anywhere in the world, the captain said, adding that India's first indigenous aircraft carrier is also under-construction in Kochi. According to
    reports, the Indian Navy is expected to operate three aircraft carriers by 2015.

    "It is a rare experience. I have never boarded a warship. It happens only once in a lifetime. Thanks to the Indian Navy, embassy and port officials for giving us an opportunity to board this aircraft carrier,-Â￾ Lateesh, an expat, and his friends told Times of Oman. Lateesh was among a group of 50 friends who came to see this formidable ship.

    "Even though it was too hot and the trip was hectic, we couldn't hold our anxiety to miss this rare opportunity. We stood in the queue for more than two hours to board the bus to the ship. Our kids are very happy. If we had missed this chance, we would have never got another opportunity to board an aircraft carrier,-Â￾ Mohammed Iqbal and his family said.

    Meanwhile, a few visitors said they were not satisfied with the arrangements made by the officials for the visit to the ship.

    "Seeing the warship is a rare opportunity. But the arrangements made were not up to the mark. There was complete chaos at the entry point and even on board. There was a lot of confusion everywhere,-Â￾ Akilesh said.

    Mrs. Venkitesh and her family too were also not satisfied with the organisers.

    "There were no shades, not even for kids. They had to stand for hours in the queue. By the time we reached on board, we were all exhausted.

    The organisers could have done it in a better way,-Â￾ Mrs Venkitesh said.
    About 24,000 persons reportedly availed themselves of the opportunity to board the Indian naval ships.

    Earlier known as HMS Hermes, INS Viraat was acquired by the Indian Navy in 1987 after completing 28 years of service under the Union Jack and having participated in the Falklands Campaign of the Royal Navy.

    The warship now carries five aircraft on board and can carry up to 12 aircraft. Sea Harriers with short-take-off and vertical landing capability are stationed on the ship.

    Even anti-submarine helicopter Sea King 42B and search and rescue choppers Chetak helicopters also operate from the ship. The carrier is equipped with anti-missile defence system and long-range surveillance system for self -defence.

    In addition, the Sea Harrier fighters, equipped with anti-shipping missiles (AShM), long-range beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (AAM), bombs and rockets add more teeth to its capabilities.
     
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