Gorshkov-Tribune01-13

Gorshkov fixed, awaits final delivery trials

Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:17

Four months after a snag had hit the Russia-built sea-borne aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, the damaged parts have been replaced and the ship now awaits snow-melt in the northern parts of Russia to re-commence final delivery acceptance trials in May-June.

The warship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was scheduled to be handed over India in December 2012. Now the delivery deadline has been re-scheduled for the last quarter of 2013.

Well placed sources in the Navy informed today that the insulation system of all eight boilers on board the 44,550-tonne behemoth have been replaced with new ones. Three of the boilers had malfunctioned due to faulty insulation during sea trials in August-September 2012.

Once the ship came ashore, the boilers were inspected. The fire-brick lining located on the inside of the insulation had come off. The “fire-brick” is a special ceramic which helps maintain optimum temperature in the boilers. Gaps can show wrong engine pressures and speeds, besides being hazardous.

An official confirmed that the entire insulation was ripped off and new one installed.

As off now, the ship is getting a final coat of anti-rust paint on the portion that will remain submerged.

The boilers on board the ship power four engine shafts. The 500-member Indian Navy team on board Admiral Gorshkov had reported to the Naval headquarters the problem with the warship’s boilers, especially when it hit top speeds nearing 30 knots (around 55 kmph).

India and Russia had signed a $2.3-billion (Rs 12,650 crore approx as per today’s valuation) contract for refitting the aircraft carrier of the erstwhile Soviet Navy. The first contract was signed in 2004 when no other country was ready to sell such a technology to India.

The malfunction notwithstanding, the warship continued to sail and undergo other trials like the landing and take off of MiG-29K fighters from its deck.

The ship has already completed a 90-day sail and covered 11,000 nautical miles. Other than the boiler insulation showing problems at top speed, there was no other issues, Naval sources confirmed.

In October, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov visited India for the 12th annual meeting of the India-Russia inter-government commission on military technical cooperation where the matter concerning the delay in Gorshkov’s delivery was discussed.

Serdyukov had told the media, “We have given a revised time table. Sea trials shall resume in April next year. We believe the transfer (of the ship) will take place in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

On Republic Day tableau

New Delhi: The Navy will showcase the Gorshkov at the Republic Day parade. A model of the ship will be the tableau of the India Navy on January 26. The tableau will have a flat deck like an aircraft carrier with models of fighter jets.

Delivery in 2013-end

The warship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was scheduled to be handed over to India in December 2012. Now the delivery deadline has been re-scheduled for the last quarter of 2013

Malfunction in Boiler

The 500-member Indian Navy team on board Admiral Gorshkov had reported to the Naval headquarters the problem with the warship’s boilers, especially when it hit top speeds nearing 30 knots (around 55 kmph)

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23

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