Vikramaditya Further Delayed

NDTV on 10OCT12 reports the INS Vikramaditya – India’s second aircraft carrier – is further delayed. The aircraft carrier, being purchased from Russia for USD 2.3 billion or over Rs. 10, 000 crores, is now likely to be given to India only towards the end of 2013, nearly a year after its scheduled delivery date.

The Vikramaditya, formerly the Russian Navy’s Admiral Gorshkov, was to have been handed over to India on December 4 after ongoing sea trials following a much-delayed refit that has gone massively over-budget. The deadline has now been postponed again until October 2013.

According to a report from RIAN the previous month,

Russian Defence Minister A E Serdyukou said that the ship’s power-plant had “mal-functioned during sea trials” and had been sent back to the shipyard for thorough checks. “We have conveyed to India the new delivery date and hopefully the next sea trials will be carried out in April 2013,” Mr Serdyukov said.

Back in September, problems started when the carrier tried to gain maximum speed. “Seven out of eight steam boilers of the propulsion machinery were out of order,” an official told Kommersant. The official, who prepared the Vikramaditya for sea trials, said the reason for the boilers’ failure was that India refused to use asbestos to protect the boilers from heat, fearing that the material was dangerous for the crew.He said the boilers’ designer had to use firebrick, which proved not sufficiently heatproof.

This is a huge dissapointment for Indian Defense officials, who wanted to see the carrier put into service by the end of the year. Now that China has possibly started launching the J-15s on its own aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, India needs to be training with it’s own MIG-29K in order to master effective launch of its fighters, inter alia.

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