Oct. 14, 2013
GORKI (Moscow region), October 14 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian-built aircraft carrier refitted for the Indian Navy will finally leave for India on November 30, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Monday, following an overhaul that is years late, and cost over twice the original budgeted price.
The carrier Vikramaditya, which is now five years past its original 2008 delivery date, was supposed to have been handed over to India in December 2012 after the contract was renegotiated, but had to undergo additional repairs after last year’s sea trials revealed that the vessel’s boilers were not fully functional due to problems with their insulation.
“The problems revealed during sea trials last year have been fixed,” Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s defense and space industries, said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
“The ship is ready a month ahead of the handover ceremony and will leave our territorial waters on November 30,” Rogozin said.
Russian arms exports monopoly Rosoboronexport said in September that the Vikramaditya will be handed over to India on November 15 and was expected arrive at the Indian naval base at the port of Mumbai by February.
The warship, previously known as the Admiral Gorshkov, is a Project 1143.4 or modified Kiev class aircraft carrier commissioned by the Soviet Navy in 1987 and decommissioned in 1996 after cuts to the Russian Navy fleet.
The refit of the ship has lurched from one crisis to another since India and Russia signed a $947 million deal in 2004 for its purchase and refit according to the Times of India. Delivery has been delayed three times, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the vessel to $2.3 billion, sparking acrimony between Moscow and New Delhi over the contract.
The Indian Navy has already taken delivery of some of the carrier’s MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft, that were completed before their parent ship was ready for sea.