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    Russia to test aircraft carrier for India's navy in 2011

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    The Russian Sevmash shipyard said on Tuesday it planned to test an aircraft carrier currently being modernized for the Indian navy in 2011.

    ST. PETERSBURG, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Sevmash shipyard said on Tuesday it planned to test an aircraft carrier currently being modernized for the Indian navy in 2011.

    India contracted the $1.5 billion Admiral Gorshkov for its navy in 2004. After long-running delays and disputes, Russia and India agreed in February to raise refit costs for the aircraft carrier, berthed at Sevmash in north Russia for the past 12 years.

    The carrier, renamed the Vikramaditya, is to replace India's INS Viraat carrier, which, although currently operational, is now 50 years old.

    "The successful solution of all the financial issues will enable the shipbuilders to sail the aircraft carrier out into the Barents Sea for trials. In the winter of 2012, the ship is expected to be finally refitted and trials will continue in the summer of that year. At the end of 2012, the aircraft carrier is expected to be fully prepared for its transfer to the Indian navy in accordance with the schedule approved by the Russian Navy," Sevmash said.

    The contract to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier to India, which state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport signed with the Indian navy, covers the modernization of the ship and equipping it with modern weaponry, including MiG-29K Fulcrum aircraft and Ka-27 Helix-A and Ka-31 Helix-B anti-submarine helicopters.

    After it has been refitted, the Gorshkov is expected to be seaworthy for 30 years.

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