“Vikramaditya”, the former Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Gorshkov”, has been under reconstruction at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk since 2004, when Russia and India signed a contract on the Indian free-of-charge takeover of the vessel. The handover has been delayed several times and was planned to be made on December 4 2012.
The aircraft carrier left the shipyard in the beginning of July for sea trials in the White Sea and Barents Sea. The program was planned to take some four months. Things seemed to be going well, and last week Russian MiG-29K jet fighters were training take-off and landing on the carrier.
The testing program also included testing the vessel at maximum speed, and that was when serious problems occurred:
“When the aircraft carrier reached 30 knots, an alarm indicated that there were problems in the machinery plant, and the vessel simply stopped”, a source in the military-industrial complex says to Kommersant.
Seven out of the vessel’s eight steam boilers are broken and will need to be repaired before trials can continue. The Indian Navy cannot expect to get their vessel sooner than October 2013
According to the source, the Indian navy had rejected use of asbestos as heat insulation on the boilers, and the constructors had to replace it with fire-resistant brickwork. The brickwork did not withstand the temperatures and simply fell apart. The condition of the boilers can only be judged after the vessel returns to Sevmash, he adds.
There is no information on the aircraft carrier’s whereabouts at the moment. According to Kommersant’s source, the vessel cannot sail to Severodvinsk by itself with only one boiler.