INS Vikramaditya. Press service of JSC Sevmash
Russia has completed repairs on INS Vikramaditya, fixing the engine problems that caused a delay in the delivery of the refitted aircraft carrier to India last year.
“The Severodvinsk Shipbuilding Enterprise Sevmash has finished the repairs of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya ,” the Interfax news agency reported on Friday quoting an official in the Russian Navy General Staff.
“All the problems with the boiler insulation have been fixed by Russian specialists with the use of Russian-made components,” the source of RIA Novosty said, adding the ship will sail for additional sea trials in the White Sea in June.
The source of the problem, which reduced the ship's maximum speed, was due to use of low-grade Chinese-made firebricks in the boiler insulation instead of asbestos, according to Russian shipbuilders.
The Vikramaditya, which is already years past its original 2008 delivery date, was supposed to have been handed over on December 4, 2012, but sea trials in September revealed the ship's boilers were not fully functional.
The contract for aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (former Russian Project 11434 aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov) was signed by Russia and India in 2004. Then the contract cost $1.5 bln. India received the carrier for free but paid that money only for the ship's repair and modernization, as well as air wing consisting of fighters MiG-29K/KUB and helicopters Ka-28/31. The parties revised contractual terms in 2009, and the contract cost increased up to $2.3 bln.
It was initially planned that Indian Navy would receive the ship upgraded under Project 11430 in Aug 2008, but delivery dates were postponed many times then. According to the latest agreement, the ship was supposed to arrive in India in Dec 2012, but Russia deferred the ship's delivery to the first half of 2013. The reason was failed trials of Vikramaditya in the Barents Sea when seven out of eight steam boilers broke down due to low-grade thermal insulation.
Indian authorities were planning to impose a $115-mln penalty on Russia for delayed delivery of the aircraft carrier. However, no official claims were made.