- From the Mail Today newspaper, an important update.
May date for Admiral Gorshkov’s Russian sea trial
RUSSIA will launch sea trials of heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov on May 25.
The 44,000- ton carrier, which is being completely retrofitted for the Indian Navy, will first be taken to the White Sea and then to the Barents Sea. It will be docked there for three to four months for sea trial, the Sevmash shipyard said in a statement on Friday.
“After the sea trials are done, we plan to hand over the carrier to India by December 4,” Sevmash said.
Gorshkov ’s main power generators are being tested and finishing touches given to its sleeping and living quarters, the shipyard said, adding “ the crew training was completed last month”. Gorshkov , rechristened INS Vikramaditya , is a Soviet- made Project 1143.4 class aircraft carrier. It was sold to India in 2004 but the delivery has been delayed because of differences over its escalating cost.
In 2004, the contract was estimated to be worth $ 1.5 billion for restoring the vessel and modernising it, and another $ 530 million for delivering 16 MiG- 29K fighter jets and Ka- 31 and Ka- 27 anti- submarine helicopters with it.
The work on retrofitting and modernising the vessel into a full- fledged aircraft carrier was to be finished in 2008. But, the contract deadline was extended because Russia said additional funds were needed for modernising the vessel.
During his visit to India in March 2010, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had signed a supplementary agreement for amending the cost of the reconstruction and modernisation of the aircraft carrier.
Accordingly, India now estimates the contract at $ 2.33 billion. The vessel is expected to have a service life of 30 years.
The carrier is equipped with STOBAR ( short take- off but arrested recovery), a system used for take- off and landing of aircraft from the decks of aircraft carriers.