INS Vikramaditya, the Navy’s largest and newest aircraft carrier, is set to have its first overhaul by September 2016.
Highly-placed sources in the Defence Ministry said that in line with the government’s Make In India initiative, the Navy has identified Reliance-owned Pipavav shipyards and state-owned Cochin Shipyards Limited for the first dry docking of INS Vikramaditya.
“Dry docking of an aircraft carrier is a critical task and the Navy has asked the two shipyards to ready their existing infrastructure to meet the requirement. The Request for Proposal will be issued shortly and one of the contenders will carry out the first refit of the carrier,” a source said.
The 45,000-ton modified Kiev class warship, which was Admiral Gorshkov in Russian Navy, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in November 2013.
As per the contract with Russia, the first refit of the aircraft carrier, expected to cost over Rs 200 crore, is mandatory within three years of it being commissioned.
During the refit, crucial parameters of the ship such as damages if any to the hull, propellers, runway, health of the component aircraft — presently Mig 29K— will be checked and their operational capability will be enhanced. “As per the contract, subsequent dockings are supposed to take place once in five years,” the source said.
The Navy currently has two aircraft carriers—INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya.