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Gorshkov delayed, project cost to remain $2.3 bln: Antony

INS Vikramaditya. Photo: Sevmash shipyard.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The long-pending delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov has been further delayed by around one year and is now scheduled to be handed over to India in the last quarter of 2013 but total cost of the project would remain the same, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

The Russian-origin 44,500 tonne Kiev Class aircraft carrier, now rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was originally supposed to be delivered in 2008 but its handing over was further pushed to December 2012 by the Russian side.

"The delivery of aircraft carrier Vikramaditya has been delayed to the last quarter of 2013 against the envisaged delivery schedule of December 2012. The original delivery date was revised from August 2008 to December 2012," Defence Minister A K Antony said here.

In reply to a written query, the minister said original cost of the project was finalised at $978.4 million in 2004 for its delivery in 2008 but in 2010, it was "renegotiated and revised" to $2.3 billion for delivery in 2012.

"The total cost of the project would remain at $2.3 billion at the time of delivery in last quarter of 2013," Antony informed the House.

On steps to meet operational preparedness of the Navy, the Defence Minister said, "In the interim, the operational requirement of the Navy would be met by INS Viraat, which would remain in service till the induction of Vikramaditya."

Antony said during trials of the warship in 2012, tests on the main propulsion plant could not be completed "due to defects encountered on boiler section and its rectification is likely to take six months."

The Ministry was informed about delays in the delivery during India-Russia Defence Minister-level talks in October but there was confusion on whether the project cost would also go up due to the delay.

India is working on two important aircraft carrier projects at the moment including the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) and the Gorshkov project but both are delayed by over three to four years.

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