Trou­ble in Vikra­ma­ditya tri­als, de­liv­ery de­layed


The re­fur­bished, re­fit­ted Rus­sian­built air­craft car­rier for the In­dian Navy, Vikra­ma­ditya, has run into se­ri­ous trou­ble with propul­sion-re­lated equip­ment mal­func­tion­ing dur­ing high­speed tri­als in the Bar­ents Sea this month, rais­ing se­ri­ous ques­tions on the qual­ity of the re­fur­bish­ment and, per­haps more im­por­tantly, the pos­si­bil­ity that the ship has ma­jor de­sign flaws that saw it out of ac­tion start­ing the early 1990s. The for­mer Ad­mi­ral Gor­shkov, con­tracted by the In­dian Gov­ern­ment in Jan­uary 2004, and expected to be de­liv­ered to the In­dian Navy in De­cem­ber this year to co­in­cide with the Navy Day, is now un­likely to change hands be­fore April 2013, per­haps even later. The In­dian Navy has pointed to prob­lems with an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of boil­ers on the old war­ship that shut down dur­ing highpower tri­als when the ship was pushed to its max­i­mum speed of about 29 knots. The In­dian Gov­ern­ment was forced to more than dou­ble its con­tracted cost for the ship to $2.3 bil­lion three years ago af­ter it was jointly de­cided that the scope of work had been mon­u­men­tally un­der­es­ti­mated. De­lays in the Vikra­ma­ditya come shortly af­ter In­dia’s own air­craft car­rier, the un­der-con­struc­tion Vikrant, has also gone slow, with no pos­si­bil­ity of in­duc­tion be­fore 2018.

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