Thursday, 22 August 2013

MiG-29s to be stationed aboard Vikramaditya and Vikrant

The Indian Navy’s Russian-made ship-based multirole MiG-29K/KUB jet fighters will be stationed aboard the Vikramaditya and Vikrant aircraft carriers.
India’s Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the country’s parliament on Tuesday, that the aircraft, the first squadron of which has become operational, would be deployed aboard the aircraft carriers.
Sixteen MiG-29K/KUB fighter aircraft have already been supplied to India under the main contract with Russia. Under the optional second contract, four aircraft were delivered in 2012 and in 2013.
A MiG official said that MiG had no problems with the delivery of extra 29 ship-based MiG-29K/KUB fighter planes. The planes were test flying in Goa.
Earlier, Alexander Fomin, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said that the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier would be handed over to the Indian Navy in November 2013.
“The ship is to be put in a dock in April, go on sea trials in June and July and be officially handed over some time in November,” he said.  On September 23, 2012, the Vikramaditya returned to the shipyard to fix the problems that were detected during previous sea trials.
During the three-month sea trials the ship demonstrated excellent seaworthiness, speed of 29.3 knots and manoeuvrability. MiG specialists praised the ski-jump. The ship sailed for more than 12,000 miles, with 517 flights performed from its deck by aircraft and helicopters.
Russia’s Northern Fleet aviation was involved in the sea trials: aircraft and helicopters flew around and over the ship in order to check its radar, air defence, communication and control systems. During the first stage of the trials in the White Sea, the ship’s physical fields were measured, and the crew practiced fuelling and fresh water replenishing operations. The ship was initially scheduled to be commissioned on December 4, 2012. However its transfer to India was postponed until the end of 2013 after the problems during the sea trials.
Under a package inter-governmental agreement signed in New Delhi in January 2004, the body of the Admiral Gorshkov was transferred to India for free subject to its upgrading at Sevmash and armament with Russian aircraft.
Russia will also train the Indian crew of about 1,500 and create an infrastructure for the ship in the Indian Ocean.
The overall cost of the contract was estimated at $1.5 billion, of which about $974 million were intended for the conversion of the ship into a full-scale aircraft carrier. All work was supposed to be completed in 2008. However the completion date has been postponed. Russia claimed that the volume of work had been underestimated and demanded an additional payment of $2.2 billion.
The Admiral Gorshkov was built in Nikolayev under the name of Baku and put to service in the Northern Fleet in 1987. It is 283 metres long, 51 metres wide, with water displacement of over 45,000 tonnes.

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