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The carrier will reach India as early as in February 2014, according to Viktor Komardin, the deputy head of the state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
The Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov was converted into the Vikramaditya at Russia’s Sevmash Shipyard.
The carrier was ready in December 2012, but tests found flaws in the carrier’s boilers that were not fully functional.
“We expect that Vikramaditya will dock at a Mumbai port by February,” Viktor Komardin said, adding that the vessel would dock at 14 ports on its way to the final destination.
INS Vikramaditya is sure to serve the Indian Navy for at least 30 years, said a senior technical officer of the Navy earlier in August.
“The entry of the Vikramaditya marks a paradigm shift, as it heralds a new era in carrier operations in the Indian Navy. The way it has been rebuilt and equipped with advanced systems and machinery will ensure that it plods on for another 30 to 40 years,” Rear Admiral S. Madhusudanan, Admiral Superintendent of the Naval Ship Repair Yard (NSRY) said.
Komardin also said that Moscow will help New Delhi in the construction of its first ever Indian-built Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant.
“We are currently participating in 10 Indian projects, including the construction of Vikrant,” he said at the NAMEXPO 2013, the five-day naval and maritime exposition and conference in the Southern Indian city of Kochi.
INS Vikrant first entered sea waters on August 12 in Kochi, and trials are scheduled for 2016.
In 2018 the aircraft carrier might join the Indian Navy, and will replace the existing INS Viraat.
Vikrant will have the capacity of carrying 30 jets and helicopters.
The US has indicated recently that it wants to displace Russia as the nation’s largest defence supplier. Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Washington, visiting US deputy secretary of defence Ashton B Carter held a series of meetings with national security advisor (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon.
“This is the new way for India and US. We do not have the history that Russia does. We are trying to replicate it,” he said, referring to Indo-Russian joint ventures like the one manufacturing BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
Daria Chernyshova in Moscow for The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies