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Gorshkov refit on track: India

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The refurbishment in a Russian shipyard of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov that the Indian Navy has purchased is ‘going well’ and the vessel is expected to be ready for sea trials next year, an officer said here Tuesday.

‘Everything seems on the track to ensure that Gorshkov be handed over to India by December 2012,’ Indian Navy spokesperson Commander P.V.S. Satish told IANS.

Satish said an Indian Navy team, led by the Controller of Warship Production and Acquisitions Vice Admiral N.N. Kumar, had returned from Russia, where it had gone to examine the progress on the 44,000-tonne carrier at the Sevmash Shipyard.

‘The progress has been going well. Around 99 percent of the structural work is over and almost 50 percent of the cabling work is complete. Large-sized equipment, like engines and diesel generators have been installed,’ he said.

Satish said India and Russia have formed a monitoring committee headed by the Sevmash Shipyard’s chief to supervise the refit programme, while additional manpower has also been deployed to ensure timely delivery of the ship that India contracted for in 2004.

‘The Sevmash Shipyard has significantly increased the number of men working on the warship,’ the spokesperson said.

The delivery of the carrier, now rechristened INS Vikramaditya, has been long delayed due to hard bargaining over the refit price till India recently agreed to pay $2.34 billion for the warship that helped helped in expediting work on it.

The original contract was for $1.5 billion, of which $974 million was for the refurbishment of the ship and the balance for a squadron of MiG-29 fighters, as also Kamov anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

The Russians later said the refit costs had been grossly underestimated.

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