Russia’s Baltiysky Zavod shipyard specialists have finished repairing the engine and steam turbine room equipment of the Indian aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, thus making it ready for final sea trials, a source in the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, June 5.
“The sea trials will resume within several week, possibly in late June,” the source said.
Earlier, Yekaterina Pilikina, the spokesperson for the Sevmash shipyard, where the aircraft carrier is sitting now, told ITAR-TASS that the ship had been put into a dock and towed through the sluice gate with filigree precision, passing several centimeters clear of the sluice walls.
Now the ship will undergo a scheduled inspection before it is cleared for sea trials, which are to be held in the White and Barents Seas this summer, Pilikina said.
According to Sevmash, the ship’s boilers will be tested extensively during the month-long sea trials in the White Sea, to be followed by flight tests in the Barents Sea on August 3.
The ship will return to Sevmash in early October and get ready for a trip to India. It is to be handed over to the customer on November 15.
On September 23, 2012, the Vikramaditya returned to the shipyard to fix the problems that were detected during previous sea trials.
During the three-month sea trials the ship demonstrated excellent seaworthiness, speed of 27.9 knots (about 52 kilometres per hour) and manoeuvrability. MiG specialists praised the ski-jump.
The ship sailed for more than 12,000 miles, with 517 flights performed from its deck by aircraft and helicopters.
Russia’s Northern Fleet aviation was involved in the sea trials: aircraft and helicopters flew around and over the ship in order to check its radar, air defence, communication and control systems.
During the first stage of the trials in the White Sea, the ship’s physical fields were measured, and the crew practiced fuelling and fresh water replenishing operations.
The ship was initially scheduled to be commissioned on December 4, 2012. However its transfer to India was postponed until the end of 2013 after the problems during the sea trials.
Under a package inter-governmental agreement signed in New Delhi in January 2004, the body of the Admiral Gorshkov was transferred to India for free subject to its upgrading at Sevmash and armament with Russian aircraft.
Russia will also train the Indian crew of about 1,500 and create an infrastructure for the ship in the Indian Ocean.
The overall cost of the contract was estimated at 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, of which about 974 million U.S. dollars were intended for the conversion of the ship into a full-scale aircraft carrier. All work was supposed to be completed in 2008. However the completion date has been postponed. Russia claimed that the volume of work had been underestimated and demanded an additional payment of 2.2 billion U.S. dollars.
According to India, the ship will cost 2.33 billion U.S. dollars and will operate for 30 years.
The Admiral Gorshkov was built in Nikolayev under the name of Baku and put to service in the Northern Fleet in 1987. It is 283 metres long, 51 metres wide, with water displacement of over 45,000 tonnes.
The source in the USC also told ITAR-TASS that Russian shipyards would also deliver a Project 11356 frigate to India shortly. MOSCOW, June 5 (Itar-Tass)