One year de­lay in Vikra­ma­ditya

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

In what will be a ma­jor set­back to the Navy’s twin-car­rier plans, and to de­ploy­ments on both seaboards, the Vikra­ma­ditya (ex-Gor­shkov) air­craft car­rier will not be de­liv­ered be­fore the end of next year. Con­firm­ing the bad news, vis­it­ing Rus­sian De­fence Min­is­ter Ana­toly Serdyukov said there were ma­jor prob­lems iden­ti­fied in the ship’s main power plant and cer­tain boil­ers and that the ship was back at the Sevmash Ship­yard in Severod­vinsk in north­west Rus­sia for in­spec­tion and nec­es­sary re­pairs. With win­ter set­ting in, work will be much slower than usual.

The Rus­sian Min­is­ter in­di­cated that the ship was likely to be ready for a sec­ond shot at sea tri­als in April next year fol­low­ing the ice melt. The Vikra­ma­ditya re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme, which be­gan in 2004, has al­ready seen a $1.3-bil­lion cost over­run, and a time over­run of a stag­ger­ing four years (it was orig­i­nally to have been de­liv­ered in De­cem­ber 2008). The lat­est de­lay means the In­dian Navy will have to stretch its sole car­rier, INS Vi­raat, for even longer— the ship is al­ready over 50 years old and truly on its last legs.

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