INS Viraat – The Big Mamma

The largest warship of the Indian Navy, she’s served the nation for 25 years now, Saved from being decommissioned by the Royal Navy three years after her glorious deployment in the Falklands war of 1982, India’s lone floating airfield – and the world’s oldest – is now making history by having its service life extended to 2018. Welcome to INS Viraat.

Viraat means ‘Giant’, and she lives up to her name as high as a 13 storeyed building. And displacing 28000 tonnes when fully loaded. The massive diesels in her belly produces 76000-shaft horse power. Her runway, from where the navy’s deadly sea Harrier fighters are launched, measures 743 by 90 feet. She has a 12 degree ramp to help these planes get in the air; they are also capable of taking off and landing like a chopper.

With a crew complement of 1200, INS Viraat is like a small city that can operate nearly 20 aircraft and helicopters at a time. It has four gyms, a fully finctional hospital with a state-of-the-art operation theatre and a dental center and even the country’s only floating ATM.

“We have carried out large number of surgeries on-board the ship, Mind you, it can be a difficult task because of the constant movement”, says the principal medical officer, Surgeon Commander P Pramod, who is also an aviation medication specialist.

-source: Sunday Express (6-May-2012)

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