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MURMANSK, July 16 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Northern Fleet has started the second stage of testing for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier Vikramaditya.
The purpose of the testing is to check key systems and units, the main and auxiliary power plants, as well as communication and navigation systems, Northern Fleet’s spokesman, Captain 1st Rank Vadim Serga said on Monday, July 16.
“A Northern Fleet crew is operating the ship during the trials. Many of the crewmembers acquired extensive experience of operating heavy aircraft carriers during their service aboard the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Also aboard the Vikramaditya are the trial team, representatives of the Sevmash production association and Indian Navy officers,” Serga said.
Naval aviation is involved in the sea trials: aircraft and helicopters fly around and over the ship in order to check its radar, air defence, communication and control systems.
During the first stage of the trials in the White Sea, the ship’s physical fields were measured, and the crew practiced fuelling and fresh water replenishing operations.
“This is a mandatory procedure for all warships and is used for their protection from mines and torpedoes that respond to the magnetic field of a ship’s body,” Sevmash spokesperson Anastasia Nikitinskaya said earlier.
“The aircraft carrier has become completely autonomous, all of its onboard systems and mechanisms are working, it has its own power plant, galley and water supply system,” Igor Leonov, who is responsible for the transfer of the ship to India, said.
The ship is scheduled to be commissioned on December 4, 2012.
Under a package inter-governmental agreement signed in New Delhi in January 2004, the body of the Admiral Gorshkov was transferred to India for free subject to its upgrading at Sevmash and armament with Russian aircraft.
Russia will also train the Indian crew of about 1,500 and create an infrastructure for the ship in the Indian Ocean.
The overall cost of the contract was estimated at 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, of which about 974 million U.S. dollars were intended for the conversion of the ship into a full-scale aircraft carrier. All work was supposed to be completed in 2008. However the completion date has been postponed. Russia claimed that the volume of work had been underestimated and demanded an additional payment of 2.2 billion U.S. dollars.
The Admiral Gorshkov was built in Nikolayev under the name of Baku and put to service in the Northern Fleet in 1987. It is 283 metres long, 51 metres wide, with water displacement of over 45,000 tonnes.
Sevmash is the only shipyard in Russia that builds nuclear submarines for the Navy. It employs over 25,000 people. Since its creation in 1939, Sevmash has built 45 surface ships and 163 submarines, including 128 nuclear-powered ones.