Updated: Oct 31, 2022
It takes one gutsy nation and one aircraft carrier during the time of conflict to choke the entire energy, trade supply lines of China from West Asia, Africa and other Asian countries that go through the Strait of Malacca.
INS Vikramaditya is China’s nightmare. A well-equipped battle-group with INS Vikramaditya and guard submarines is an endgame. To tame the Dragon, its trade lines and energy thirst is the Achilles heel to attack. INS Vikramaditya, with a pair of guard and attack submarines, is a chokehold established in Malacca. In this piece, we discuss the powerful features, capabilities and technology of INS Vikramaditya - the China Choker.
TECHNOLOGY, FEATURES AND WEAPONRY
INS Vikramaditya is India’s largest Short Take-off, but arrested recovery aircraft carrier (STOBAR) converted from the Russian Navy’s decommissioned Admiral Gorshkov, which was a Vertical Take-off and Landing Cruise Missile Carrier (VTOL). INS Vikramaditya can achieve a maximum range of 7000 Nautical Miles and can endure up to 45 days at sea. It has state of the art launch and recovery systems, long-range air surveillance radars, and an advanced electronic warfare suite.
Advanced systems help it create a surveillance bubble of 500km around the ship. It is equipped with LUNA and DAPS landing systems for MiGs and Sea harriers, respectively. It is also equipped with a computer-aided action information organisation (CAIO) system named LESORUB-E for combat control and direction. It is fitted with an automated Resistor-E radar complex for air traffic control and landing.
INS Vikramaditya was extensively refurbished with new systems, sensors, flight deck and weaponry. It was deployed in 2014 with MiG-29. It can carry more than 30 long-range multi-role fighters with anti-ship, air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets.
It has Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv, and Chetak helicopters on-board. INS Vikramaditya is part of a $2.33 billion deal signed in 2010. The deal included 12 single-seat MiG 29K, 4 two-seat MiG 29KUB aircraft.
INS Vikramaditya test-fired close-in-weapon system (CIWS) and Barak 8 long-range air-defence system (LR-SAM) in March 2017. Its overall length is 284m, with a height of 60m and displacement of 44,500t. It has 22 decks and 2500 compartments. It can carry more than 1600 personnel.
Recently India’s indigenously developed fighter jet - TEJAS, has also conducted a test-landing on INS Vikramaditya, showcasing India’s regional power ambitions and self-reliance commitment. INS Vikramaditya’s weaponry includes anti-ship missiles for protecting it from vessel attacks during combat or conflict, beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs, and rockets. In totality, INS Vikramaditya is a lethal choker weapon in India’s arsenal.
GEOPOLITICAL USE OF CHOKER
The most important Chokepoint between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean - the Strait of Malacca, through which passes China’s 80% energy imports, can be choked to give China a nerve attack on its economic and energy supply lines stability. A lot of trade and manufactured goods from China to other parts of the world pass through Malacca too; Through which passes 40% of the world’s trade. China is diversifying its lanes of energy and trade, but its significant trade portion still passes through Malacca and will remain so for the near future.
In case of a conflict or clash between China and India, the latter can use Malacca as a Neck Choke on China’s critical economic stability. For this, India has started developing Naval establishments and Airstrips in Andaman and Nicobar to strengthen capabilities. INS Vikramaditya’s battlegroup with the attack, surveillance ships, vessels and submarines in the Malacca region can prove detrimental for China. INS Vikramaditya can also get its resources and reinforcements fast from the nearby Indian Islands of Andaman and can also dock in a nearby Indian port.
This can prove even more lethal and make the chokehold more damaging and plausible in conflict with China. Another use of chokehold can be to cut the reinforcements and help for the Chinese port establishments that can be used as Naval establishments further. Cutting them off through Malacca will be a strategic victory for the Indians.
Safeguarding INS Vikramaditya with proper battle-group cover is vital to keep the chokehold on appropriate terms. INS Vikramaditya remains capable and powerful with Its Battle-group to chokehold China and is the de facto - China Choker in the region.
BY HARSH SURI
CO-FOUNDER THE GEOSTRATA