The Indian Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the Vikramaditya, has headed into the Barents Sea for second-stage sea trials, as part of its refit by Russia's Sevmash shipyard, Captain Vadim Serga of Russia's Northern Fleet information service said on Monday.
The Vikramaditya, formerly the Soviet Union's Admiral Gorshkov, has finished a long-delayed refit for the Indian Navy at Sevmash on the Kola peninsula. The ship was extensively modified to undertake STOBAR (short takeoff but assisted recovery) operations with MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft, as well as receiving new air defense, communications and navigations systems.
The Vikramaditya is currently successfully undertaking the second round of shipyard sea trials, during which the ship will test its main systems, main and secondary power systems, communications and navigation systems," Serga said.
The ship is being operated by a Northern Fleet crew, many of whom have experience with carrier operations on the Russian Navy's Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov. Also on board are Sevmash shipyard specialists and Indian Navy officers.
The crew includes Northern Fleet aviation personnel, who test the carrier’s radar systems, air defenses, communications and air direction systems.
India and Russia signed a $947 million dollar deal in 2005 for the purchase of the carrier, but delivery has already been delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the carrier to $2.3 billion.
The Vikramaditya - as the Admiral Gorshkov - was originally laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned with the Soviet Navy in 1987.