Trouble in Vikramaditya trials, delivery delayed

By SP's Special Correspondent
Photo Credit : Indian Navy

VIKRAMADITYA AT ANCHOR IN THE WHITE SEASeptember 24, 2012: The refurbished, refitted Russian-built aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy, Vikramaditya, has run into serious trouble with propulsion-related equipment malfunctioning during high-speed trials in the Barents Sea this month, raising serious questions on the quality of the refurbishment and perhaps more importantly, the possibility that the ship has major design flaws that saw it out of action starting the early 1990s. The former Admiral Gorshkov, contracted by the Indian Government in January 2004, and expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy in December this year to coincide with Navy Day, is now unlikely to change hands before April 2013, perhaps even later.

The Indian Navy has pointed to problems with an unspecified number of boilers on the old warship that shut down during high-power trials when the ship was pushed to its maximum speed of about 29 knots. The Indian Government was forced to more than double its contracted cost for the ship to $2.3-billion three years ago after it was jointly decided that the scope of work had been monumentally underestimated. Delays in the Vikramaditya come shortly after India's own aircraft carrier, the under-construction Vikrant, has also gone slow, with no possibility of induction before 2018.