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Arrival of INS Vikramaditya delayed

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NEW DELHI/MOSCOW (PTI): The delivery of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to Indian Navy, which is already behind schedule, has been further hit due to malfunctioning of the warship's engines during sea trials and it is now expected to arrive in Indian waters in the second half of 2013.

The ship was originally supposed to have been delivered by 2009 but it's handing over to the Indian Navy has been marred by cost overruns among other issues.

An Indian Navy team on the ship has indicated that there are problems with the warship's boilers, sources said in New Delhi.

Reports in Russian media have suggested that the aircraft carrier would be arriving in India by October 2013.

The ship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was scheduled for commissioning into the Indian Navy by December 4, 2012.

The sources dismissed reports that other systems of the warship had also been damaged due to the engine malfunctioning.

They said India is expected to ask the Russian side to hand over the carrier to the Indian side within the stipulated delivery schedule and carry out the required overhauls within that time frame.

The deal for the aircraft carrier was signed in 2004 but the price of the ship was renegotiated and later put at USD 2 .3 billion after repeated cost revision demands by the Russian side for repair and overhaul. The ship will be part of Indian Navy's plans to operate an aircraft carrier in each of its two seaboards.

At the moment, its only operational aircraft carrier is INS Viraat, which is in the last leg of its service after having gone through several upgrades.

Admiral Gorshkov was a Kiev class aircraft carrier laid down in 1978 at Nikolayev South in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned in 1987.

The sources said the extent of repairs to be carried out in the warship would be known only when it reaches the Sevmash shipyard in Russia.

The carrier is at present sailing in the Barents Sea and the Russian side has not formally conveyed to their Indian counterparts about the delay in the delivery schedule, they said.

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