Tuesday, January 29, 2013

India's Vikramaditya to undergo final trials in mid-2013

 India's delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is to undergo trials this summer prior to its delivery to the Indian navy.

Trials cannot commence before June as the port of Severodvinsk, at which the ship is moored, will be icebound until then, Russia's embassy in New Delhi said in a statement on its website.

An Indian navy source separately confirmed that "delivery acceptance trials" will take place this summer, setting the stage for final delivery to the Indian navy.

"On acceptance of the ship from the builder, it will be formally commissioned with the Indian tri-colour being hoisted on top of ship, after which it will start its journey towards India," said the embassy.

"The navy intends to commission the ship in Russia and sail it back to India by October-November 2013. It is expected to join active service by December."

The Vikrmaditya underwent 100 days of sea trials in 2012, culminating in successful flight trials involving RAC MiG-29K/KUB aircraft flown by Russian pilots in November.

The ship's delivery, originally planned for December 2012, was delayed by a problem with its propulsion system that emerged shortly after the successful flight trials. This forced the ship back to port for remediation work.

New Delhi ordered 12 single-seat MiG-29K and four twin-seat MiG-29KUB aircraft in 2004, the same year it ordered the warship, formerly the Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Disputes about costs delayed work on the vessel, but in March 2010, New Delhi and Moscow agreed on a $2.3 billion price tag for the ship. India also decided to obtain an additional 29 MiG-29Ks.

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