The much-awaited Russian-built aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be commissioned in the Indian Navy on December 4 this year and the certain trials that needed to be done will now be completed post its induction in the force.
Gorshkov, rechristened in the Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya, has been facing constant cost escalation and delays in refurbishment.
“The ship will be commissioned on Dec 4, when the Indian crew will take over the warship inRussia,” Indian Navy’s Chief of Material Vice Admiral Ganesh Madhavan said. With the commissioning of the floating deck carrier, that will have MiG-29 K fighter jets operating from its deck, the Indian Navy will become two aircraft carrier navy.
Madhavan who also headed the price re-negotiation committee for Gorshkov, said that the revised contract for the leviathan envisages its lifespan to be 40 years as against 20 years in the first contract.
“Ninety percent of the outer hull of Gorshkov is new. Hundred percent of its cabling and pipeline is new. Thus giving it the extended life,” Madhavan said.
The cost escalation by the Russians had left the Indian Navy in the fix, as its British-built INS Viraat has already completed its life span and the force was looking a time to decommission the old battle ship and the its indigenous aircraft carrier is going to be operational only by 2015.
Admiral Gorshkov project hit the headlines in 2007 when Russia said that it will not be able to meet its initial deadline of 2008 and pushed it back to 2010. Later it increased the price of the refurbishment of the warship from $1.5 billion to $ 2.5 billion.
Giving an insight into the negotiation at that time, Madhavan said: “The major part of cost upgrade was to replace the steel. If we had not agreed to get it done from them we would have to do it ourselves.”
Sources say that the pushing back of the delivery date and the delay in refit has resulted in certain tests that the Indian Navy wanted to be done. But now sticking to the deadline, the Russians will deliver the test and a part of the sea trials will be conducted post-induction.