The Vikrant was the only aircraft carrier possessed by the nation of India. It was purchased from Great Britain, where it was formerly the Majestic class carrier HMS Hercules. The Hercules was never finished, and sat in an incomplete state until purchased by India in January of 1957. Once bought, the carrier was renamed and then completed. She was commissioned into service in March of 1961.

The Vikrant saw extensive use in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, where she served mostly to blockade Eastern Pakistan. During the war, the ship operated a mixed air group of 16 Hawker Sea Hawks and four Alize ASW aircraft. The air wing's Sea Hawks shot up port cities, airstrips and small craft that were moving the Pakistani Army.

In 1979, the Vikrant entered refit and would not set sail for another 3 years. The refit allowed her to carry the Sea Harrier FRS.Mk1. A ski jump ramp was added, new boilers and engines fitted, and new Dutch radars and fire control systems were added.

The Vikrant finally ran out of steam in the early 1990's when her machinery wore out and she laid up. She has since been scrapped.