Problems in INS Vikramaditya fixed, sea trial to start in June
Moscow: Engine problems which caused a delay in the delivery of the refitted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to the Indian navy have been fixed and the ship will sail for additional sea trials in the White Sea in June.
"All the problems with the boiler insulation have been fixed by Russian specialists with the use of Russian-made components," an official from Russia`s Sevmash shipyard said.
The Vikramaditya was originally built as the Soviet Project 1143.4 class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
The Vikramaditya, which is already years past its original 2008 delivery date, was supposed to have been handed over on December 4, 2012, but sea trials in September revealed the ship`s boilers were not fully functional.
The source of the problem, which reduced the ship`s maximum speed, was due to use of low-grade Chinese-made firebricks in the boiler insulation instead of asbestos, according to Russian shipbuilders.
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy director of Russia`s Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service (FSVTS), said previously that the carrier will be delivered to India in November 2013.
New Delhi has shown signs of impatience over the Vikramaditya`s tortuous refit, and demanded compensation from the Russians at a meeting in October 2012 for the latest delay in delivery, Ria Novosti quoted Defence News as saying.
The Russians rejected that claim, saying the parts which failed had been bought by the Indian Navy.
India and Russia signed the original USD 947 million deal in 2005 for the purchase and refit of the carrier, but delivery has already been delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the ship to USD 2.3 billion.
The Project 1143.4 carriers and a class of destroyers with the same engines suffered a history of boiler failures during their service lives.
The ship was laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned with the Soviet Navy in 1987. It was renamed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
In 1994, the Gorshkov sat in dock for a year for repairs after a boiler room explosion. In 1995, it briefly returned to service but was finally withdrawn and put up for sale in 1996.
The ship has a displacement of 45,000 tons, and an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots. It will have an air wing consisting of Russian-made MiG-29K jet fighter planes and Kamov Ka-31 early warning radar helicopters.
Some of the MiG-29K fighters have already been delivered to India.
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