Admiral Gorshkov overhaul slow, could be delayed - contractor
The overhaul of a Russian-made aircraft carrier sold to India under a 2004 contract could be delayed indefinitely, a source at the Sevmash shipyard said Tuesday.
"It is definitely not going to be 2008 [the deadline stipulated in the contract]," the source said.
The contract to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier to India, which state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport signed with the Indian Navy in January 2004, covers the modernization of the ship and equipping it with modern weaponry, including the MiG-29K Fulcrum aircraft and Ka-27 Helix-A and Ka-31 Helix-B anti-submarine helicopters.
The ship is undergoing modernization work at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, in northern Russia, but the overhaul has been slow and suffered a number of setbacks, including a lack of financing and poor project management.
"There are many factors [that caused the delay] - the value of the contract is in 2004 dollar prices and the cost estimate was incorrect right from the start," the Sevmash source said. "Experience shows that work on this scale should have been estimated at three times higher."
Besides, the source said, many sub-contactors had failed to supply the necessary parts and equipment on time.
Former director of the Sevmash shipyard, Vladimir Pastukhov, was fired earlier this year over his poor management of the project and some media reports suggested that prosecutors had been investigating a possible fraud case over mismanagement of funds by Sevmash officials.
The $1.5-billion Admiral Gorshkov sale is one of Russia's largest individual military deals with India. The two countries are currently working on military contracts worth $10 billion.
After joining the Indian Navy, the 45,000-ton aircraft carrier will be renamed the INS Vikramaditya and could replace the outdated INS Viraat, a Centaur-class aircraft carrier, which India purchased from Britain in 1986.
India is desperate to receive the carrier as soon as possible because it is building the country's new naval strategy around the Admiral Gorshkov.