Russia further delays delivery of aircraft carrier to Indian Navy
Russia has confirmed it will delay delivery of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly named Admiral Gorshkov, to the Indian Navy by almost a year.
The Russian-built aircraft carrier had recently undergone second-stage sea trials in the Barents Sea, during which malfunctions were detected in its propulsion.
Trials were conducted as part of the Sevmash shipyard refit programme, which involved upgrades to enable the frigate to undertake a short take-off, but assisted recovery (STOBAR) operations with MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft.
During the trials, seven out of eight steam boilers of the propulsion machinery faced problems when the carrier tried to reach maximum speed.
The boilers have been designed using firebrick instead of asbestos to protect from heat, after concerns that the material was too dangerous for the crew.
Initially, the 45,000t vessel was scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy on 4 December, but it has now been postponed until October 2013.
Capable of cruising at a speed of 32k, the aircraft carrier has a range of more than 4,000nm and is equipped with sonar suites, including hull-mounted LF sonar and LF VDS sonar, as well as Garpun-BAL SSM targeting and SAM control systems.
Equipped with 3D air search radars and Puma fire control radars, the 130m-long INS Vikramaditya is armed with Hurricane medium-range air defence missile system, eight SS-NX-26 Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, a new 130mm gun mount system and a Medvedka-2 ASW system.
The Indian Navy signed an agreement with Russia for the procurement of the INS Vikramaditya in 2004, with delivery initially due in 2008.
Due to refurbishment and repeated delays, the final price of the ship has doubled from $947m to $2.3bn.
Image: Indian Navy's Gorshkov-class frigates are equipped with 3D air search radars. Photo: courtesy of Pibwl.