Russia will deliver aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (former Admiral Gorshkov) to India in the fourth quarter of 2013, said Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdiukov on Oct 10. By that, he confirmed media estimates that Indian Navy would receive the carrier not earlier than Oct 2013.
Being cited by ITAR-TASS and Interfax, Serdiukov said that by the summer of 2013 the Sevmash shipyard would eliminate all malfunctions of boilers recently revealed during the ship's trials in the White and the Barents seas. After that, new trials will be held in the summer, and the carrier will join Indian Navy in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The head of Russian defense ministry added that Russia had handed over a contract for additional batch of 42 fighters Su-30MKI to Indian partners. He expressed hope that the contract would be considered and signed till the end of this year. Besides, Serdiukov added that batch production of the fifth-generation aircraft jointly developed by Russia and India could be launched by 2020.
The Russian minister made those statements at the Russo-Indian intergovernmental commission for military technical cooperation held today in Delhi with participation of his Indian counterpart Arackaparambil Kurien Antony. The latter, in his turn, pointed out that the most critical issue for both sides was the fastest delivery of the aircraft carrier to India. "Our message at all meetings is concern over the ship's delayed delivery. All organizations involved in the carrier's building and trials must work very hard to complete the trials as soon as possible", emphasized A.K. Antony.
On Oct 2, Russian vice premier Dmitry Rogozin who is in charge of defense industry expressed confidence that all problematic issues regarding the carrier's handover to India would be settled within a month, before the Russia-India Summit coming in early November.
Reportedly, the contract for refurbishing of Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov was tied with India in 2004. The contract provided $974 mln for recovery and modernization of the carrier, and $530 mln for 16 deck-based fighters MiG-29K and naval ASW helicopters Ka-31 and Ka-27.
The ship was supposed to join Indian Navy back in 2008. However, delivery date was postponed due to increased volume of works. The contract value grew considerably as well. Currently, this contract is unofficially evaluated as $2.3 bln.
By now, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has passed large-scale reconstruction at Russian shipyard Sevmash. The ship is equipped with ski-jump flight deck for shipborne fighters MiG-29K, up-to-date electronics, and new 2,000-km long cable routing. The carrier has new navigation aids, radars, and aircraft control system.