Indian Navy will soon have its second aircraft carrier warship by January 2014. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed as Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikramaditya, will be joining the Indian fleet after a delay of five years.
"It will be accepted by the Defence Minister on November 16. On November 30, the ship will leave our waters for India," Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said during a meeting with his ministers, reported Voice of Russia.
India's Defence Minister AK Antony is scheduled to visit Russia between 15-17 November.
India and Russia signed a ₹4,500 crore deal in 2004 and the war ship was sent to Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk port city in northern Russia for refurbishing. The deal was later revised to ₹13,000 crore in 2010.
According to the initial plans, the 45,000-tonne Kiev class warship was scheduled to be delivered in 2008 and was later pushed to December 2012. During sea trials, it was found that the boilers of the warship were not fully functional and had to be fixed.
The sea trials were conducted in July in White Sea and Barents Sea. INS Vikramaditya will not have some of the weapons including close-in air defence systems, a critical feature of a warship.
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 based on INS Vikramaditya. The first batch of 16 planes has been delivered and is kept at INS Hansa naval air base in Goa.
INS Vikramaditya along with INS Virat, which is currently in service with Indian Navy, will provide protection and act as power projection platforms along the eastern and western coastlines in the Indian Ocean region.
India is also building an indigenous aircraft carrier called INS Vikrant at the Kochi naval base. The aircraft is expected to be developed by 2018-19.