Russia has announced that it will be subjecting the retrofitted Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya) to extensive sea-trials this week in Russia. The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is to be handed over to the Indian Navy by December this year and will cost India $ 2.3 billion. The 45,000-tonne INS Vikramaditya has already undergone mooring trials in January this year and is ready for sea runs.
According to Russian media reports, INS Vikramaditya will set sail on comprehensive sea trials later this week at a ceremony likely to be attended by Russia's President Vladimir Putin. The aircraft carrier is scheduled to take to the sea from the Sevmash shipyard in the northern port city of Severodvinsk on the White Sea later this week.
As for the sea-trials of the INS Vikramaditya, it will entail an extensive range of sea-going tests. According to Sevmash Shipyard, the 44,000-tonne carrier will first be taken to the White Sea and then to the Barents Sea. The carrier will be docked there for three to four months for sea trials. The crew training has already been finished. As of now, the carrier’s main power generators are being tested and final touches being given to its sleeping and living quarters.
Russia is due to hand over the vessel to India in December this year, after a delay of four years caused by differences over retrofitting costs. Under a 2004 contract, the overhauled aircraft carrier was to be delivered to India in 2008 but its refit was delayed as Russia hiked its price to almost triple of the original quote. The two sides eventually agreed on the new price of $2.33 which included $ 85 million for a complete set of blueprints that will allow the Navy to carry out repairs at Indian shipyards.
The INS Vikramaditya would be a 90-per cent new ship and remain in service for 40 years after all the major retrofitting has been completed. It is designed to operate only vertical takeoff aircraft. The carrier has been fitted with a full runway and a ski jump, new engines, new diesel boilers, new generators, electrical machinery, communication systems and distillation plants. The aircraft carrier will be equipped with MiG-29K Fulcrum fighters and Kamov anti-submarine helicopters.