June 12, 2012

INS Vikramaditya Took White Sea for Trials

Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya being repaired and modernized under Indian Navy's order by Sevmash shipyard in the night of June 8 headed for the White Sea to hold sea trials. It is the first time in Russia's contemporary history when Russian shipyard sent a new aircraft carrier for trials in high seas; the ship is edgily awaited by Indian naval mariners, reports the yard's press service.

Russian crew, a trial team from Sevmash and contracting companies, and Indian Navy's observers will work together at the White and the Barents seas.

Except for Indian officials, the ship's farewell ceremony was attended by representatives of United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Russian Government's military industrial committee, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, Rosoboronexport, administration of Arkhangelsk region and city of Severodvinsk.

"This is important event not only for Sevmash but for the whole Russian industry", pointed out Andrei Diachkov, Director General of JSC Sevmash. "To tell the truth, we did have many doubts, but our effective joint work with Indian observers, design bureau, and contracting organizations helped to prepare the ship for her first sortie", Diachkov said.

"Indeed, it is a sort of a holiday. For the first time in Russia's contemporary history and in the 21-st century, an aircraft carrier starts sea trials", said Anatoly Tiukov, vice president of JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation. "This ship comprises intellect, experience, and endeavor of thousands of people – designers, shipbuilders, equipment suppliers, and control organizations. We all have proved that Russian industry is able to built such ships", Tiukov said. According to initial plans, the ship was supposed to take sea on May 25, but due to technical and organizational reasons the date was postponed for June 8.

The carrier's trials will last 124 days. After first phase in the White Sea, the ship will enter the Barents Sea to begin tests of aircraft-related systems and perform training flights.

Project 11430 aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (stands for "Almighty") is retrofitted Soviet Project 11434 aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov. According to the package intergovernmental agreement tied in Jan 2004, the ship's hull was handed over to India for free, given that the ship would be modernized at Sevmash shipyard and equipped with Russian-made air wing.

It is one of the largest Russo-Indian defense contracts. Since 2004 Nevskoye Design Bureau, Sevmash shipyard and numerous contracting companies have done a huge volume of works. The ship is equipped with deck and takeoff ski-ramp for MiG-29K fighters; repaired and converted for new tasks hull is equipped with up-to-date facilities, systems and mechanisms; new 2,000-km long cable lines have been laid; the ship received new navigation and radar systems, communication aids and aircraft control equipment. So, in fact an absolutely new ship was built. According to Indian experts, this carrier will bring Indian Navy to a crucially new level outclassing any naval force in the region.

Upon termination of repair and upgrading, the ship's displacement will exceed 45,000 tons. Length is 283 meters, beam is 59.8 meters, overall number of aircraft is 30, crew strength is 1,924 men.

The ship is expected to join Indian Navy in Dec 2012.


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