October 11, 2012: In what will be a major setback to the Navy's twin-carrier plans, and to deployments on both seaboards, the Vikramaditya (ex-Gorshkov) aircraft carrier will not be delivered before the end of next year. Confirming the bad news, visiting Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said there were major problems identified in the ship's main powerplant and certain boilers and that the ship was back at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in North-West Russia for inspection and necessary repairs. With winter setting in, work will be much slower than usual.
The Russian Minister indicated that the ship was likely to be ready for a second shot at sea trials in April next year following the ice melt. The Vikramaditya refurbishment programme, which began in 2004, has already seen a $1.3 billion cost overrun, and a time overrun of a staggering four years (it was originally to have been delivered in December 2008). The latest delay means the Indian Navy will have to stretch its sole carrier, INS Viraat, for even longer—the ship is already over 50 years old and truly on its last legs.