Vikramaditya delayed, Navy allows asbestos lining

By SP's Special Correspondent

VikramadityaDecember 04, 2012: The Navy has accorded approval to the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russia to use asbestos heat lining in the sealed boiler unit of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, following a complete breakdown of the ceramic fire-brick lining during sea trials earlier this year, when the ship was pushed to higher speeds. After carefully considering the situation—and taking into account that the unit is a sealed one—the Navy has provided official approval for the use of asbestos cardboard for the lining over the boilers' steel casing. Earlier, asbestos was left out of the material package as part of an internal decision by Sevmash and its suppliers. The use of asbestos, however, required the Navy's on-paper approval.

Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi also indicated that there were several substandard components and subsystems that had been sourced by Sevmash in the course of the refurbishment programme that showed up during sea trials. All of these will also be replaced along with the boiler insulation lining, which is likely to take a good part of the next year. The ship is now slated for delivery to India by the end of next year, following another round of sea trials to make sure everything is ship-shape. India's own aircraft carrier, the new Vikrant Class ship, is delayed as earlier reported, but being speeded up at the Navy's request.