It comes in on approach, touches down on the flight deck, then revs the engines to full power and flies off the front. Times of India. Indian Express, “Vikramaditya Brings Russian Culture to Karwar, Irks Locals”. PTI | Voice of Russia. So far, 4 certified MiG-29Ks have been transferred to the Indian project team in Russia, after Russian test pilots have conducted carrier landing check-outs. The question is whether the long-discussed foreign tender (q.v. If a refund could be forthcoming from the Russians, and a deal done with the British, investing the Vikramaditya’s $3 billion could net India a completely new ship rather than an old and refurbished one, with double the Gorshkov’s aerial complement. The cost for repair and refit of the carrier, spares, infrastructure augmentation and documentation was estimated to be $974m. The March 2010 contract for 29 more MiG-29K Fulcrum-Ds won’t begin delivery until 2012. Jan 14/14), a team of Russian specialists have arrived on board, and will stay in India for a year as technical backup. During those visits, they will also discuss the larger subject of Indian-Russian defense relations. The ship-building company was facing closure and was ready to sign any kind of contract when the contract was signed.”. Plans to build a second carrier in the class will be “initiated soon.” Source: Free Press Journal. That means a smaller radar, on a slower platform, offering much less coverage. Source: Times of India, “MiG 29K squadron base at Vizag soon, says Navy chief Joshi”. The Chinese fly larger and longer-range J-15 fighters, which are based on Sukhoi’s SU-33 design. Minister of Defence Shri A.K. He expects the first batch of 4 aircraft to be “with us by middle of this year.” The Hindu. It cannot carry out advanced anti-submarine or anti-surface operation.”. Deliveries of all 16 MiG-29Ks are expected to be complete by 2009. Failure to add a modern towed sonar to its surface combatant ships juts makes things worse. Hindustan Times | Indian Express | Forecast International report/op-ed | Indian Express op-ed. When it was signed in 2004, it was promoted as “a historic deal in Norwegian-Russian industrial relations.”. May 7/14: Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan says that: “The navy has inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya which is now operationally deployed with MiG 29K aircraft embarked and being flown by Indian naval pilots…”. July 12/18: India’s plan to build and commission its second indigenous aircraft carrier has been postponed again. We will see the start of construction in three years,” Admiral Lanba told media representatives on the sidelines of a Navy conference on Monday. Even India’s Navy won’t know how big an issue this is, until debriefings are done and the report is in. With the MiG-29Ks no longer necessary for India, that contract would almost certainly be canceled. That’s just the down-payment on the final cost of an operational carrier, because the aircraft are bought separately. ITAR-TASS reportedly quoted a shipyard representative as saying that: “At this juncture, the completion of work in 2010 would be realistic. Jan 17/10: Reports surface that India will “soon” finalize a $1.2 billion deal with Russia to buy 29 more MiG-29K jets, which would bring India’s order total for the carrier capable STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Assisted Recovery) fighters to 45. India has decided to stick with Sevmash shipyard in Russia’s northern Arkhangelsk region for long-term post-warranty servicing of INS Vikramaditya. One was slipping timelines, which risked leaving them with no aircraft carriers at all. The date is now early June – or later, if the weather continues to be bad. Those weapons will need to integrate with the Russian combat system, and the priority placed on fighter pilot qualification means that weapon installation won’t take place until the carrier’s initial refit. The deal for purchasing the ship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was signed in 2004 by the then NDA government at $974 million. Dec 5/09: Reports surface once again that India and Russia have reached an agreement on the Vikramaditya’s price. Russia’s Kashtan, which equips Russia’s own Admiral Kuznetsov, would be a high-end gun/missile CIWS option. Sept 21/08: Still no firm deal on the Gorshkov refit, but India’s Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) has given approval in principle to add another 29 MiG-29Ks to the original 16-plane, $1.5 billion deal. RIA Novosti quotes Sevmash officials as saying that: “The successful solution of all the financial issues will enable the shipbuilders to sail the aircraft carrier out into the Barents Sea for trials. No word on the timelines or costs suggested; indeed, these are likely to remain under negotiation. The deal for purchasing the ship, rechristened as INS Vikramaditya, was signed in 2004 by the then NDA government at $974 million which was increased to final price of $2.35 billion in 2010. Dec 4/14: Vikrant Schedule. INS Vikramaditya will remain India’s core carrier option for some time, as Vikrant isn’t expected to be ready until the end of 2018. The India Defence report adds, cryptically: “The finance ministry’s latest decision also stemmed from a request to allocate $60 million to perform sea trials of the refurbished vessel during 2011.”. First, recall that the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Archangel Oblast is responsible for the Gorshkov refit. The carrier has entered its final phase of construction at Kochi shipyard. Risks are also cited with respect to the aircraft arresting gear, which has not been finalized due to development problems. Press Trust of India. Instead, the boilers’ designer had to use firebrick ceramics. Feb 28/09: ADS Watch. The Navy would like to field the Barak-8/ MR-SAM missile for medium-long range defense, but integration could be challenging. By September 2012, reports surfaced that the ship had been re-named “Liaoning,” in honor of the province where it was retrofitted. Barents Nova. Over $4 billion in defense purchases weren’t specifically mentioned in paragraph 21 of their joint statement, which did find time to say that: “Both sides discussed measures required to ensure expeditious delivery of the aircraft carrier «Vikramaditya» to India. It also creates a platform that can be improved over time, which is good for India and its industry. That’s a somewhat worrying assertion, in light of the MiG-29K naval buy. Digital Editor. Dec 3/08: Indian Express reports that India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Tuesday “gave in to Moscow’s demands,” and will renegotiate the Vikramaditya upgrade on terms acceptable to Moscow. May 30/11: MiG-29K. The cost was raised to the final price of $2.35 billion in 2010. December 8/15: India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier will be delivered to the Indian Navy by December 2018. The other challenge involved Vikramaditya’s 3-fold cost increase, as Russia demanded a re-negotiated contract once India was deeper into the commitment trap. The Hindu quotes UAC VP and RAC MiG Director-General Mikhail Aslanovich Pogosyan, who says that Indian naval pilots have been training in Russia since October 2008. Under the contract, India can impose a penalty of up to 5%, and Ministry of Defence officials have been quoted using a figure of Rs 600 crore (currently about $113.8 million). Another reason is that India also wants to operate naval fighters from its locally-built 37,500t – 40,000t “Project-71 Air Defence Ship” (Vikrant Class) STOBAR carriers. Defence minister A K Antony said that: “Nothing beyond [a romantic relationship] has been proved so far. The operation is expected to cost Sevmash at least $30 million, and it will be interesting to see if they try to pass the cost on to India, on the grounds that Indian specifications caused the problem. Feb 21/08), remains to be seen. The carrier pulls into Karwar by Jan 8/14. He appreciated the efforts made by the Russian side to resolve issues relating to life cycle support of equipment of Russian origin.”. The frigate is equipped with Merlin helicopters – the maritime version of triple-engine AgustaWestland EH-101 that is used extensively by the Royal Navy… The Indian Navy has pitched a Delhi class destroyer, which is a formidable platform, but it carries only one helicopter although it is capable of operating two. Getting there required extensive modifications. Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently visiting India, and is expected to sign a number of defense contracts, including the revised Gorshkov pact, and a $1.2 billion contract for another 29 MiG-29Ks. RAC MiG announces that they delivered a new batch of 5 MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighters to the Indian Navy in May, along with a flight training simulator and other technical equipment. Admiral Gorshkov under refit to become INS Vikramaditya. This will give India an aircraft carrier again. After being inducted in the Navy as Vikramaditya, the ship is now a floating airfield with the length of 284 meters. Landings will take place at the SBTF, before working up to full ship-based operations. As in, $0. This gives the Russians considerable leverage in negotiations, unless India can find an alternate provider. The Vikramadiya has to take 7 of its 8 boilers offline when it tries to go to maximum speed of 30 knots in trials. The INS Vikrant was undocked in June by Cochin Shipyard (CSL) who are anxious to start construction of a second vessel, although no formal agreements have been made. Nov 27/13: Sailing home. Those estimates, at least, turned out to be true. Work has been very slow as said by the workers in the shipyard. The Government has agreed to conduct negotiations for finalizing a revised Repair and Re-equipping contract. This article tracks the changes India is making to its new aircraft carrier, key characteristics, and a full history of contracts and events affecting this carrier and its planned aircraft contingent. What the heck happened? 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