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INS Vikramaditya all set to join Indian Navy on Saturday

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INS Vikramaditya.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister AK Antony will induct the long-delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, designed to boost India's maritime capabilities, at a shipyard in Russia on Saturday.

Antony will leave for Russia on Friday with a high-level delegation, including Defence Secretary RK Mathur, on a four-day visit during which, apart from commissioning the aircraft carrier, he will also co-chair the India-Russia Inter -Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu.

Contracted for in 2004, during the NDA regime, the vessel has been delayed by over five years and has seen several time and cost overruns in the last nine years.

"The commissioning ceremony will take place at Sevmash Shipyard, Severodvinsk, on Saturday and the IRIGC-MTC meeting will take place in Moscow on Monday," a Defence Ministry release said.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will be attending the commissioning along with Defence Minister Shoigu.

For the IRIGC-MTC, Antony's delegation includes Secretary (Defence Production) GC Pati, DG (Acquisition) S B Agnihotri, and senior officers from the armed forces.

At the meet, the two sides will discuss a broad spectrum of issues related to ongoing and proposed defence projects and defence cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides will also exchange views on bilateral concerns related to regional and global issues, the release said.

INS Vikramaditya is a Kiev class aircraft carrier which was commissioned by the Russian Navy in 1987 under the name Baku.

It was later renamed as Admiral Gorshkov and last sailed in 1995 in Russia, before being offered to India.

In Indian Navy, the 44,500 tonne warship with a length of 284m will have MiG-29K naval combat aircraft along with Kamov 31 and Kamov 28 anti-submarine warfare and maritime surveillance helicopters.

The MiG 29-Ks would provide a significant boost to Indian Navy with their range of over 700 nautical miles, extendable to over 1,900 n.m. with mid-air refuelling, and an array of weapons like anti-ship missiles, beyond visual range air-to- air missiles and guided bombs and rockets.

It will also have a complement of indigenously-built and developed ALH Dhruv choppers along with Sea King helicopters.

With over 1,600 personnel on board, INS Vikramaditya would literally be a 'floating City' with a mammoth logistical requirement of nearly a lakh of eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice per month.

"With a complete stock of provisions, she (the vessel) is capable of sustaining herself at sea for a period of about 45 days.

"With a capacity of over 8,000 tonnes of load, she is capable of operations up to a range of over 7,000 nautical miles or 13,000km," a Navy release said.

The ship is powered by eight boilers and can achieve top speeds of 30 knots per hour.

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