Vladimir Radyuhin

Stealth frigates contract as per schedule

To be taken out of dry dock

Heavy equipment installation soon

MOSCOW: The Gorshkov aircraft carrier will be taken out of dry dock shortly following the completion of hull repair and painting, said a shipyard official.

“The ship’s hull has been fully done and painted and scaffolding will be dismantled by the end of October,” deputy director for foreign defence contracts at the Sevmash shipyard Sergei Novosyolov told a local news service on Friday. “We are still to paint the last 10 [out of 116] cisterns.”

After the ship has been taken out of the dry dock and moored at the shipyard, pier engines and other heavy equipment will be installed, he said.

India is yet to approve $1-billion extra in cost overrun of the upgrade Russia asked over and above the initial $700 million after physical verification of the ship earlier this year revealed the need for massive additional refit. This has pushed back the Gorshkov delivery date from 2008 to 2012.

Another major Indian contract — for the construction of three Talwar-class stealth frigates — is moving as per schedule, said a spokesman for the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad.

He told the RIA Novosti news agency that the hull of the second frigate was more than half ready. Earlier this year, the shipyard built the frame of the first frigate and laid the keel of the third one. The three ships are to be delivered by April 2012.

President Dmitry Medvedev called on the government to put special focus on supporting the defence industry in the face of the global crisis. He told a meeting of economic ministers on Thursday that more than $220 billion the government has pumped into the financial system should go through to defence industry, machine-building, and other sectors of the economy.