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ARKHANGELSK, June 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The aircraft carrier Vikramaditya of the Indian Navy (the former Russian cruiser Admiral Gorshkov), which was modernized at the military shipyard Sevmash in Severodvinsk, will go on a full-scale sailing trial overnight to June 8, spokesperson of the shipyard Anastasia Nikitinskaya told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
“The program of the sailing trial is intended for 120 days,” she said. “However, this does not mean that the warship will sail in the sea all this time. If some flaws are found she can arrive to the shipyards in Murmansk and Severodvinsk for their elimination,” the Sevmash spokesperson said.
It was reported before that a team of Indian and 350 Russian naval sailors, as well as shipbuilders will conduct the sailing trial. The team will total over 2,000 people. Some 2,350 cabins and other premises are prepared for them onboard the warship. The warship will go on sailing trials in the Barents Sea for first 2-3 weeks. Then the trials of the deck aviation will begin. The trials will take 3.5 months. The aircraft carrier is to be commissioned on December 4, 2012.
Under the package intergovernmental agreement signed in New Delhi in January 2004, the hull of the Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov was handed over to India for free with the condition of her modernization at the Sevmash shipyard and the equipping with the Russia-produced deck aviation. Russia will also train the Indian crew of the aircraft carrier with the numerical strength of about 1,500 naval sailors and will create an infrastructure for the deployment of the warship in the Indian Ocean. The initial cost of the contract was estimated at 1.5 billion dollars, and all works for reequipping the warship in a full-fledged aircraft carrier was planned to complete in 2008. However, the deadlines of the contract were delayed. Russia stated about an understated amount of work and the need for additional funding to modernize the warship. On March 12, 2010, during Vladimir Putin’s visit in India, an additional agreement was signed to change the cost of repairs and modernization of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya (All-Mighty). India noted that the purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier will cost 2.33 billion dollars. Her service life is expected to reach 30 years.
The Russian cruiser Admiral Gorshkov, who was previously named Baku, was put into service of the Northern Fleet in 1987. After the repairs and reequipping the full water displacement of the aircraft carrier reached 45,000 tonnes, the largest length – 283.5 meters, the maximum width – 59.8 metres (it was increased by 8.8 metres – Itar-Tass). The warship can carry 30 aircraft, including fighters MiG-29K and helicopters. The crew makes up about 2,000 people.