Delivery of the modernised Soviet-era carrier has been delayed by four years

INS Vikramaditya, India’s second aircraft carrier, has set sail on comprehensive sea trials.

The extensively modernised Soviet-era carrier Admiral Gorshkov is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy this year-end after much delay. It set off from the Sevmash shipyard in the northern port city of Severodvinsk on the White Sea, official sources said here.

“A team of Indian Navy officials, technical experts and pilots is on board the aircraft carrier which is now undergoing aviation facilities trials,” officials said. All tests are being carried out by the Russian crew and staff. The Indian team is monitoring the tests and trials, they said. The aircraft carrier, which can easily hold about 30 fighters and helicopters, is now sailing in the Barents Sea.

During the trials, INS Vikramaditya will undergo “a full range of sea-going tests” and aviation facilities like take-offs and landings of fighters such as MIG 29K flown by Russian pilots. “Touch and go exercises by fighters are on and various other flight profiles are also being undertaken,” officials said, indicating that it was a “critical” pre-delivery phase for the aircraft carrier.

Delivery of the aircraft carrier has been delayed by four years. Last month, the trials were put off by two weeks due to bad weather alerts.

The towering 45,300-tonne, 284 metre-long and 60 metre tall INS Vikramaditya had undergone pre-trial exercises last month. It is now fitted with modern communication systems, a protective coating, a telephone exchange, pumps, hygiene and galley equipment, lifts and many more facilities. Officials said that at any given time, there would be a 2000-strong staff on the completely remodelled aircraft carrier which has an extended flight deck and a full runway with a ski jump and arrestor wires. The vessel has new engines, new boilers, new generators, electrical machinery, communication systems and distillation plants.

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