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ARKHANGELSK, December 8 (Itar-Tass) —— The Indian Navy’s Vikramaditya cruiser upgraded by the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk will go on new sea trials in early summer 2013.
The announcement was made by the shipyard’s spokesperson Yekaterina Pilikina on Saturday, December 8, after Arkhangelsk Region Governor Igor Orlov’s meeting with the commander of the ship’s Indian crew, Captain Suraj Berry, and Sergei Novoselov who is in charge of military production at Sevmash.
On September 23, the Vikramaditya returned to the shipyard to fix the problems that were detected during previous sea trials. “No other enterprise but Sevmash could solve such challenging tasks to repair and upgrade the ship so well,” Berry said.
During the three-month sea trials the ship demonstrated excellent seaworthiness, speed of 27.9 knots (about 52 kilometres per hour) and manoeuvrability. 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 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,” the Sevmash spokesperson 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 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 the 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 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.