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Harbour trials of Admiral Gorshkov to begin in Aug

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Set for induction into the Indian Navy next year, harbour trials of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov are expected to begin by August end in Russia.

These trials are aimed at testing the functioning of all the systems of the warship, senior Navy sources told PTI here.

The harbour trials will be followed up by sea trials which are expected to start by November where the major systems of the warship including its weapon firing capabilities would be put to test, they said.

The sources said that the warship is expected to be delivered as per the original schedule of December 2012. The 45,000 tonne, 283-metre aircraft carrier, rechristened INS Vikramaditya by the Indian Navy, is undergoing refit and repairs at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia.

During his recent visit to Russia, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar was taken to the Sevmash shipyard and shown the progress in work on the Gorshkov.

The contract for the warship was signed between India and Russia in 2004 but the cost escalation and price revision by Russia for retrofitting the ship were cited as reasons for the delay.

After long negotiations, the two sides had settled on USD 2.3 billion as the price of the second hand warship.

With only a lone aircraft carrier INS Virat being operated now, the Russian origin warship is key to India's plan of having one aircraft carrier each on both the seaboards.

Construction of another indigenous aircraft carrier is on in Kochi and is expected to be inducted into the navy by the end of 2014.

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