Defence Minister of India, A K Antony left for Moscow on Friday to commission the long awaited Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikramaditya, according to a release by the Ministry.
The long awaited ship will become the second aircraft carrier in the Indian Navy, after INS Virat.
INS Vikramaditya will set sail to India after its commissioning at Sevmash Shipyard, Severodvinsk in Russia on November 16. Antony is accompanied by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D K Joshi and R K Mathur, Defence Secretary, among others to be present at the commissioning of INS Vikramaditya. Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Mr Shoigu, Defence Minister will also be present.
INS Vikramadityawill be a force multiplier for the Navy after joining INS Virat, which is currently in service with Indian Navy to provide protection and act as power projection platforms from Eastern and Western coastline in the Indian Ocean region. The warship is expected to reach India in January 2014 and will be berthed at INS Kadamba naval sea base in Karwar.
India has already bought 45 MiG-29K combat aircraft, which will be berthed on INS Vikramaditya. The first batch of 16 planes has been delivered and is based at INS Hansa naval air base in Goa.
India and Russia signed the ₹4500 crore deal in 2004 and the war ship was sent to Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk port city in northern Russia for refurbishing. The deal price was later revised to ₹13000 crore in 2010.
According to the initial plans the 45,000 tonnes Kiev class warship was scheduled to be delivered in 2008 and was later postponed to December 2012. However, during the sea trials, it was found that the boilers of the war ship that provide high speed combat capability were not fully functional.
The sea trials were conducted in July this year in White Sea and the Barents Sea. INS Vikramaditya will not have some of the critical weapons including close-in air defence systems, a critical feature for a warship.
India is also building an indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at INS Venduruthy at Kochi naval base, which is expected to be completed by 2018-19.
During this visit, Antony will also co-chair the 13th meeting of the India - Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) with his Russian counterpart Shoigu.