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Admiral Gorshkov achieves milestone in sea trials

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Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya. Photo: Indian Navy

NEW DELHI (PTI): The long-delayed aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov achieved a significant milestone when it achieved its top speed of over 30 knots during sea trials in Russia last week.

The 44,500 tonne aircraft carrier rechristened INS Vikramaditya is undergoing extensive sea trials in Russia before its planned induction in to the Indian Navy by the end of this year.

After achieving its top speed, the warship will now move to the White Sea very soon where it will undergo aviation trials including the landing and take-off of fighter aircraft from its runway, Navy officials said.

The warship, which is already delayed by around five years, is expected to complete its trials by the end of September.

The warship was slated to be handed over to India in 2008 but after seeing several cost and time overruns, the Russian side last year informed India that it would be able to hand it over to the Indian Navy by the end of 2013.

Along with the warship-overseeing team, the Navy has sent specialised officers to look after the trials.

There will be parameter checks during the trials before the force gives its approval for the warship to be ready for induction, they said.

India had signed the contract for the warship in 2004 for USD 934 million but the Russian side kept increasing the price of the warship and ultimately, it was finalised at USD 2.33 billion.

India has signed contracts with Russia for procuring 45 MiG-29 naval combat aircraft for being deployed on the aircraft carrier and started taking deliveries of the planes much before the due date of the arrival of the warship.

The aircraft carrier would be based by the Navy off the coast of Karwar in Karnataka and it has already started preparing the base for stationing the ship.

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