Seven ships of Western Fleet based at Mumbai, including the two Aircraft Carriers INS Virat and INS Vikramaditya arrived at Kochi on 09 Mar 15. The Western fleet is being commanded by Rear Admiral R Hari Kumar, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. This is the first time that the newly acquired Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya is visiting Kochi after joining the fleet.
A number of professional interactions are planned between the officers and men of the different training units based at Kochi and the visiting ships in order to synergize the training and operational aspects of the Navy. The ships would be returning to Mumbai on completion of the professional engagements.
INS Vikramaditya, the latest aircraft carrier inducted by the Indian Navy, is presently based at Karwar and is commanded by Capt Suraj Berry. The ship has been fully integrated with the fleet post trials and has successfully participated in the recently concluded Theatre level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX) where it was extensively used in its operational role. INS Virat, the other aircraft carrier is commanded by Capt Rajesh Pendharkar.
(Text and photos by Ministry of Defence, New Delhi)