The Times of India has reported that a naval officer died on Friday after a fire broke out on board carrier INS Vikramaditya.

“Lieutenant Commander DS Chauhan bravely led the firefighting efforts in the affected compartment,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

While the fire was brought under control, the officer lost consciousness due to the smoke and fumes during the firefighting efforts. He was immediately evacuated to the Naval Hospital at Karwar but could not be revived, according to officials.

The carrier came to India from Russia in January 2014 and is 284 metres long. The ship weighs 40,000 tonnes and is the biggest ship in the Indian Navy.

The vessel was originally built as Baku and commissioned in 1987, the carrier served with the Soviet Navy and later with the Russian Navy (as Admiral Gorshkov) before being decommissioned in 1996.

The carrier was purchased by India in 2004 after years of negotiations at a final price of $2.35 billion.

The ship completed sea trials in 2013 and entered service in 2014.

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$2.35 billion! The Russians must have been p***ing themselves.


India must have been desperate to join the carrier club, they obviously saw it as making a statement in their region and to China.


They were in a “Catch 22” situation with the Russian carrier. The Indians did try to back out of the purchase but found that clauses in the contract meant that they would still have to pay sizeable penalties for backing out.


India has a poor record then of being shafted with military contracts…Didn’t they get stick with a crummy deal with the French and Rafale. Huge controversy over that in India?

andy reeves

maybe this will put india off its repeated purchase of russian arms


India operates aircraft carriers from 1961. INS Vikrant, brought from UK (HMS Hercules) in 1957. It played a crucial role in 1971 India-Pakistan war which resulted in the formation of Bangladesh. India acquired second aircraft carrier in 1987, INS Viraat. INS Vikramadithya is the third Indian aircraft carrier. Indegenious aircraft carrier (IAC 1) built in India commissioned in 2013. IAC 2, a super carrier of 65000 tons(INS Vishal) is also under construction.

The Big Man

Not forgetting INS Viraat was the Falklands veteran HMS Hermes, now awaiting her final fate possibly becoming a floating museum.


The ship was Free to India but India just had to spend 1.8 ( now 2.35) billion on the overhauling of the ship and buying Russian jets but the Russian contractor spent a fortune overhauling every compartment in the ship and replacing boilers ect ect ect costing billions! and contractors from the UK and other EU nations done lots of work on the ship so Russia didn’t really make billions! lol, but looks like the ships still upto Russian standards with a fire onboard.

And The Russian contractor actually wanted more money an extra billion I believe!!…

andy reeves

buy cheap, get cheap

John Hampson

The artitcle says the vessel was built in Baku? Baku is on the Caspian Sea which is land locked with no access to the open sea.


Think it was named Baku…. Then had name change when soviet union collapsed


It says it was built as Baku not in Baku


As Baku not in Baku.

Daniele Mandelli

Not sure if Baku has built warships? The shipyards at Severomorsk and Archangelsk in the north do though.


Yeah… it was in Ukraine these carriers were built.


That is one hell of a fire in the photo. Thoughts for the crew and families


Levi Goldsteinberg

There older carrier had a sewage explosion onboard which killed three people


Death by sewage. What a shitty way to go


I refuse to make any jokes about curry, it would be inappropriate.


These carriers sure have a terrible record wherever they crop up, if any class of ship is truly jinxed this is it.


They are not Jinxed they are just terrible…

Joshua Leshem

I had the honour to work with the IN leading and managing the integration of the Barak 1 ship defence system onboard the INS VIKRAMADITYA and the comissioning of the system on early 2017.
Great ship and team.
Hope the ship will never suffer from this kind of mishapps.

Geoffrey Hicking

When you look at the problems the French, the Americans, the Indians, the Chinese, and the Russians have had with their latest carriers, you have to wonder what the common elements of each problem are. How did we manage to be the only carrier nation to do well in our latest QEC endeavour? Its morbidly fascinating.

Especially as France and America have extensive experience operating and building carriers, and India has had a lot of experience operating carriers since the 60s….

Alan Reid

“How did we manage to be the only carrier nation to do well in our latest QEC endeavour?”
Scottish ship-builders, Geoffrey! Well you did ask! LOL

Geoffrey Hicking

Makes sense! 😉

andy reeves

if there’s anything to be said about scottish ship builders, it is the awfully slow rate of production

Alan Reid

Hi Andy, Perhaps that “awfully slow rate of production” might be down to the customer ….

Daniele Mandelli

Spot on Alan.


The Scottish ship builders once built most of the worlds ships, it’s nothing to do with them it’s the “customer”


RIP, my condolences to everyone and their families.
But could this mean India could put down an order for 2 QEs??

andy reeves

won’t happen


Yeah, but they are looking for one!

John Hampson

I worked in India for 3 years. India generally has a serious structural problem. The people at the top are usually completely incompetent and have obtained their positions by priviledge. The bottom do as they are told without question ( similar to Russia). The middle ranks are as good as anywhere and better than most. So the upper levels devote much of their time protecting their position from being challenged by more capable juniors. I was on an operation costing millions. Due to progress and unexpected conditions we needed help. The only source was a from the state owned company.… Read more »


Great post.

Kuzya`s brother.

Alan Garner

You can take the ship out of Russia but not Russia out of the ship!


I wonder how much if the design of the QE the British government owns and how much is owned by private companies. Assuming india buys the QE design as heavily speculated, how much will flow back to the tax payer and how much will to to BAe etc overseas shareholdees.


I wish BAE was more Britain focused but they see the bright lights of USA and the rest and go calling! Middle finger to the UK….


They are a private company. They want to make money. US companies would be exactly the same if their home market was not so large.

The Big Man

Not sure this picture is the actual event. According to the Indian press, the fire was brought under control quickly preventing any serious damage to the warship’s combat capability. The picture would say otherwise and is reminiscent of the USS Enterprise fire which killed many servicemen and significant damage. (Not suggesting this is the Enterprise)
Scouring the Indian press, there is virtually no picture evidence.

Nick C

It is almost certainly not the fire in question. The report says one death from the effects of smoke, and that the fire was in a compartment. So only smoke is going to show as it is vented out. The other point to look at is the number of other, obviously merchant vessels, anchored around the ship on fire. I would bet that it is a picture of a fire on a merchant ship, in the deck cargo, and probably off Mumbai or another Indian port.


That’s probably an Indian nuclear submarine on fire in the picture.

The Big Man

Actually this is quite sloppy. The picture is of two fuel ships on fire in the Kirch Strait.

Bruce sellers

That’s a disappointment that the photo is illustrative only, without saying as much?
Great news that the actual fire appears to have been on a far less dramatic level- not withstanding the obvious tragedy for the sailor who lost his life.