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ARKHANGELSK, November 26, 5:22 /ITAR-TASS/. INS Vikramaditya, an aircraft carrier of the Indian Naval Force that belonged to the Russian Navy under the name of The Admiral Gorshkov once in the past, on Tuesday is expected to leave the Russian town of Severodvinsk on the White Sea and to begin a voyage to India, the press service of the Sevmash ship repairs yard told Itar-Tass.
Sevmash did the technological overhaul of the ship that was officially handed over to the Indian Navy November 16.
“The ship’s departure has been scheduled for 06:30 Moscow Standard Time /02:30 GMT/,” the press service said. The Vikramaditya’s crew under the command of Captain First Rank Suraj Berry will have to cross several seas before it reaches the Indian shores.
Sevmash’s senior executive in charge of cooperation in defense technologies, Georgy Zhukov, said a plan of towing the ship down the Severodvinsk canal had been designed upon Captain Berry’s request. Towing will be done by experts of the shipyard’s transportation workshop and the Belomorsk naval base that provides navigational and hydrometeorology services to the ship.
After The Vikramaditya gets out of the shipyard’s water area and passes the canal, it will be anchored to fuelling, which will be followed by border inspection formalities and a transition to the Murmansk where it will stay for several days.
Refueling will be done during the stay in Murmansk and the aircraft carrier will then leave the Russian territorial waters to begin the cruise to India together with an Indian escort consisting of a frigate and a tanker.
A team of about 180 Sevmash specialists will travel to India aboard The Vikramaditya along with the Indian crew. They will monitor the performance of various technology units of the ship, help the Indian crew to operate them properly and troubleshoot the possible equipment malfunctions.
Upon the end of the cruise, a part of Russian specialists will stay back in India to provide the ship’s warranty servicing.
Russia and India signed a package intergovernmental agreement in New Delhi in January 2004, under the terms of which the Indian side was getting the hull of The Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrying cruiser for free on the condition of the ship’s subsequent modernization at Sevmash and the future deployment or aircraft of the Russian manufacture on it.
Russia took on an obligation to train the Indian crew of the aircraft carrier. The contract was initially estimated at $ 1.5 billion and all the technology overhaul works were to be completed in 2008.
However, the deadline was put off after the Russian side said the volumes of technological works have been underestimated and more money was actually needed for the modernization.
When President Vladimir Putin was making a visit to India March 12, 2010, the two countries signed a supplementary agreement on revising the contract costs of repairs and modernization.
It is believed that The Vikramaditya will stay in service for thirty years.
The Admiral Gorshkov, initially baptized The Baku, was commissioned by the North Fleet of the Soviet Union in 1987. Its full water displacement totaled 45,000 tons after repairs and refurbishment.
The ship had a length of 283.5 meters and a maximum width of 59.8 meters.