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Vikramaditya aircraft carrier to have performance trials

June 25, 2013, 13:04 UTC+3

The ship will return to Russian Sevmash shipyard in early October and get ready for a trip to India

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ARKHANGELSK, June 25 (Itar-Tass) - The Vikramaditya aircraft carrier upgraded by Russia for India has been taken out of dock for performance trials, the press service of the Sevmash shipyard told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"Works in the dock are completed, and the vessel is preparing for trials in the White and Barents Seas," the press service said.

According to Sevmash, the ship’s boilers will be tested extensively during the month-long sea trials in the White Sea, due to begin on July 3, to be followed by flight tests in the Barents Sea on August 3.

The ship will return to Sevmash in early October and get ready for a trip to India. It is to be handed over to the customer on November 15.

On September 23, 2012, the Vikramaditya returned to the shipyard to fix the problems that were detected during previous sea trials.

The vessel earlier demonstrated excellent seaworthiness, speed of 27.9 knots (about 52 kilometres per hour) and maneuverability. MiG specialists praised the ski-jump.

The ship sailed for more than 12,000 miles, with 517 flights performed from its deck by aircraft and helicopters.

Russia’s Northern Fleet aviation was involved in the sea trials: aircraft and helicopters flew around and over the ship in order to check its radar, air defense, communication and control systems.

The ship was initially scheduled to be commissioned on December 4, 2012. However its transfer to India was postponed until the end of 2013 after the problems during sea trials.

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 was postponed and Russia claimed that the volume of work had been underestimated and demanded an additional payment of 2.2 billion U.S. dollars.

According to India, the ship will cost 2.33 billion U.S. dollars and will operate for 30 years.

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 meters long, 51 meters wide, with water displacement of over 45,000 tons. It can have up to 30 aircraft on board, including MiG-29K fighters and helicopters. The aircraft carrier has new communications and navigation equipment, radars and aircraft flight control system.

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