The long-delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will be inducted into Indian Navy by Defence Minister A K Antony during his Russia visit slated between November 15-17.
After a delay of around five years,the 45,000 tonnes aircraft carrier is expected to be handed over to the Navy on November 15 in Russia,where it is presently undergoing refit.
“The Defence Minister is expected to induct the warship into the Indian Navy during his visit for the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation meeting now expected to be held in November,” sources said here.
The visit was earlier scheduled to take place in the third week of October but was put off by the Ministry.
Vikramaditya,formerly known as Admiral Gorskhov,has completed all its trials in the last two months in the Barents Sea and the White Sea after a delay of around five years on several counts.
Once inducted,it will be the second aircraft carrier in the Navy after INS Viraat,giving a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean.
Vikramaditya,which was scheduled to be delivered in 2008,was supposed to have been handed over to India on December 4,2012,but sea trials in September that year revealed the ship’s boilers were not fully functional.
It then returned to the shipyard for fixing of the problems that were detected during the sea trials.
The two countries had signed the USD 947 million Gorshkov deal in 2004. The deal amount was revised later to USD 2.3 billion.
The induction of Vikramaditya,which is expected to reach India in January 2014 and will be berthed at the Karwar naval base,will bolster India’s maritime prowess in the region.
The Navy also has plans of inducting the Indegenous Aircraft Carrier,which is likely to join operational service around 2018-19.
During the Russia visit of the Defence Minister,India is also expected to finalise several important deals including a proposal to procure over 200 T-90 tanks.
The meeting of the IR-IGCMTC is held every alternate year in India and Russia where future cooperation in defence matters between the two sides is decided.
The two sides are expected to discuss a number of deals including the issues relating to the ongoing Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA),being developed by Russia jointly with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
India is also likely to address Russia’s unhappiness over India’s perceived inclination towards the American weapon systems for meeting its defence requirements.
However,Russian-origin equipment still form over 60 per cent of the inventory in the three Services due to the strong long-standing military ties between the two sides.