Langkawi, March 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) India is unlikely to bill Russia for the delay in the delivery of the refitted aircraft carrier Vikramaditya caused by engine problems last year, said Viktor Komardin, deputy general director of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
The Vikramaditya, which is already years behind its original 2008 delivery date, was to have been handed over Dec 4, 2012, but sea trials in September revealed that the ship’s boilers were not fully functional.
“In theory, India has the right to do so (to impose a fine). But we believe that we will find a mutually beneficial solution to this problem in a friendly atmosphere. Actually, we already have, but for now, we’re saying that we will,” Komardin said at LIMA-2013 (Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition) in Malaysia.
India and Russia signed the original $947-million deal in 2004 for the purchase and refit of the carrier, but delivery has already been delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the ship twice over to $2.3 billion.
Defense News website reported earlier in the year that New Delhi had showed signs of impatience over the Vikramaditya’s tortuous refit and demanded compensation from the Russians at a meeting in October 2012 for the latest delay in delivery. The Russians rejected that claim, saying the parts that failed had been bought by the Indian Navy.
The Vikramaditya was originally built as the Soviet Project 1143.4 class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. The Project 1143.4 carriers and a class of destroyers with the same engines suffered a history of boiler failures during their service lives.
The ship was laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned with the Soviet Navy in 1987. In 1994, the Gorshkov sat in dock for a year for repairs after a boiler room explosion. In 1995, it briefly returned to service but was finally withdrawn and put up for sale in 1996.
The ship has a displacement of 45,000 tons, and an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots. It will have an air wing consisting of Russian-made MiG-29K jet fighter planes and Kamov Ka-31 early warning radar helicopters.