The Silver Jubilee of INS. Vikrant, India’s only aircraft carrier falls on 16 February 1986. Vikrant will be completing 25 years of glorious service which is a matter of pride not only for the Indian Navy but the entire country. As a flagship she has always kept the Navy’s flag flying high and her service to the country, particularly during 1971 war, shall always be remembered.

Initially known as HMS Hercules, Vikrant is one of the 6 Majestic class aircraft carriers. HMS Hercules was purchased by the Government of India in January 1957 and the ship was commissioned as INS Vikrant on 16 Feb. 1961. Smt. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the then High Commissioner of India, formally took over the ship from Mr. Orr Ewing, the Civil Lord of the Admiralty on 4 March 1961.

Soon after arrival, Vikrant took part in the liberation of Goa in December 1961. The air squadrons of INS Vikrant participated in the 1965 hostilities.

During the Pakistan aggression in 1971 Vikrant showed her real prowess. As the flag ship of the Eastern Fleet, commencing on 4 December, 1971, she launched strikes on Cox Bazar, Chittagong airfield and ships in harbour of Chalna, Khulna and Mongla. The part played by Vikrant in the 1971 operations undoubtedly helped hasten the surrender of Pakistani troops thus giving birth to our new neighbour Bangladesh.

In. 1971 the Navy acquired Seaking anti-submarine helicopters which formed an important part of Vikrant's inventory thus making Vikrant a composite ASW unit.

The aging Sea-Hawk fighters wore replaced by the modern VSTOL Sea Harrier aircraft in 1983. The Seakings are also being augmented with highly sophisticated and modern sensors. With the fighters and ASW aircraft and helicopters, Vikrant is capable of providing protection to any threat may it be sub-surface, surface or air.

Date of Issue: 16.2.1986