INS Vikramaditya
History
India
NameINS Vikramaditya
NamesakeVikramāditya
BuilderBlack Sea Shipyard, Mykolayiv, Ukraine
Cost$2.35 billion[1]
CommissionedNovember 2013 (expected)
StatusSea trials complete
General characteristics
Class and typeModified Kiev class
TypeAircraft carrier
Displacement45,400 tons of loaded displacement[3][4]
Length283.5 metres (930 ft) (overall)
Beam59.8 metres (196 ft)[5]
Draught10.2 metres (33 ft)
Propulsion4 shaft geared steam turbines, 140,000 hp
Speed29.3 knots (54.3 km/h)
Range4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km)[2]
Endurance13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)[8]
Crew1,400[9] - 2,000[5]
Aircraft carriedlist error: mixed text and list (help)
Total of 30 aircraft[5] including

10 helicopters, possible mix of:

INS Vikramaditya (Sanskrit, Vikramāditya meaning "Brave as the Sun"[note 1]) is a modified Template:Sclass- set to enter service with the Indian Navy in 2013. The ship has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary 1st century BC emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity.

Originally built as Baku and commissioned in 1987, the carrier served with the Soviet (until the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and Russian Navies before being decommissioned in 1996 as she was too expensive to operate on a post-Cold War budget.[10][11][12] The carrier was purchased by India on 20 January 2004 after years of negotiations at a final price of $2.35 billion.[1] The ship successfully completed her sea trials in July 2013[13] and aviation trials in September 2013.[14] The Indian Navy has announced that she will be commissioned on 16 November 2013 by Minister of Defence A. K. Antony.[15][16][17]

History

Purchase

Baku entered service in 1987, but was deactivated in 1996 because she was too expensive to operate on a post-Cold War budget. This attracted the attention of India, which was looking for a way to expand its carrier aviation capabilities.[18] On 20 January 2004, after years of negotiations, Russia and India signed a deal for the sale of the ship. The ship was free, while India would pay US$800 million for the upgrade and refit of the ship, as well as an additional US$1 billion for the aircraft and weapons systems. The Navy looked at equipping the carrier with the E-2C Hawkeye, but decided not to.[19] In 2009, Northrop Grumman offered the advanced E-2D Hawkeye to the Indian Navy.[20]

Baku in 1988

The deal also includes the purchase of 12 single-seat Mikoyan MiG-29K 'Fulcrum-D' (Product 9.41) and 4 dual-seat MiG-29KUB aircraft (with an option for 14 more aircraft) at US$1 billion, 6 Kamov Ka-31 "Helix" reconnaissance and anti-submarine helicopters, torpedo tubes, missile systems, and artillery units. Facilities and procedures for training pilots and technical staff, delivery of simulators, spare parts, and establishment maintenance on Indian Navy facilities are also part of the contract.

These upgrade plans involve stripping all the weaponry and missile launcher tubes from the ship's foredeck to make way for a Short Take-Off But Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) configuration.[21] This will convert the Gorshkov from a hybrid carrier/cruiser to a pure carrier.

The announced delivery date for INS Vikramaditya was August 2008, which would allow the carrier to enter service just as the Indian Navy's only light carrier INS Viraat retires. Viraat's retirement has been pushed out to 2010–2012.[22] The issue with the delays has been compounded by the ongoing cost overruns. This has resulted in high-level diplomatic exchanges to get these issues resolved. India has agreed to pay an additional US$1.2 billion for the project, more than doubling the original cost.[23] However, ongoing delays with the Vikramaditya's delivery schedule, pushing the delivery to 2012, could mean that even this postponement of the Viraat's retirement may not come soon enough. As a result, the Indian Navy may find itself without an aircraft carrier for the first time since the 1960s. The indigenous Vikrant-class aircraft carrier has been delayed by at least a year and may be commissioned at the earliest in 2013 from the proposed 2012.[24]

In July 2008, it was reported that Russia was increasing the total price to US$3.4 billion, blaming unexpected cost overruns on the deteriorated condition of the ship.[25] India has paid US$400 million as of November 2008. However, the Russia even threatened to scrap the deal altogether if India did not want to pay the amount.[26] In December 2008, government sources in India stated that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had finally decided in favour of purchasing Admiral Gorshkov as the best option available.[27] The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) criticised that Vikramaditya would be a second-hand warship with a limited life span, which will be 60 percent costlier than a new one and there is a risk of further delay in its delivery.[28]

The conversion plans for the ship have seen all the armament from the foredeck removed, including the P-500 Bazalt cruise missile launchers and the four Antey Kinzhal surface-to-air missile launchers, to make way for a 14.3° bow ski-jump ramp.

The Indian Navy Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta defended the price for the warship saying: "I can't comment on the CAG. But you all are defence analysts, can you get me an aircraft carrier for less than USD two billion? If you can, I am going to sign a cheque right now". The statement from the Chief of Naval Staff possibly indicates that the final deal could be in excess of US$2 billion. When asked about CAG's finding that the Navy had not done its risk analysis before going in for the ship, he said, "I can ensure you that there is no such thing. There is no question, we have been looking at the ship since the late 90s."[29]

On 2 July 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the carrier should be completed as soon as possible so she could be delivered to India in 2012.[30] On 7 December 2009, Russian sources indicated that final terms had been agreed on, but no delivery date was set.[31] On 8 December 2009, it was reported that India and Russia ended the stalemate over Admiral Gorshkov price deal by agreeing on a price of US$2.2 billion. Moscow was asking for US$2.9 billion for the aircraft carrier, nearly three times the price that was originally agreed between the two sides in 2004. On the other hand, New Delhi wanted the price to be scaled back to US$2.1 billion.[32][33] Both governments finalsed the price of Admiral Gorshkov at US$2.35 billion on 10 March, a day ahead of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's two-day visit to India.[1]

In April 2010, a scandal over the project emerged when it was announced that a Commodore had likely been blackmailed to influence the negotiations over the cost of Admiral Gorshkov to India.[34] Commodore Sukhjinder Singh had been a senior figure supervising the refit of the carrier, working as the principal director for the project. He was discharged from the service due to this incident.[35]

Refurbishment

The hull work was completed by 2008[36] and Vikramaditya was launched on 4 December 2008.[37] Around 99 percent of the structural work and almost 50 percent of the cabling work had been completed by June 2010. Almost all of the large equipment, including engines and diesel generators, was installed.[38] A naval MiG-29K prototype was used to test the deck systems of INS Vikramaditya in 2010.[39]

Design

The MiG-29Ks are to be based on Vikramaditya

The ship will be operated in a STOBAR configuration, with a 14.3° bow ski-jump ramp and three arrestor wires on the stern of the angled deck. This will allow the operation of MiG-29K and Sea Harrier aircraft. The maximum take-off length for the MiG-29K on Vikramaditya will be between 160–180 metres.

An added advantage of the Admiral Gorshkov platform is its superstructure profile that has the potential to accommodate powerful planar or phased array radar systems with the "billboard style" antennae, which was first observed on the United States Navy's USS Long Beach, along with extensive command and control facilities to conduct an aerial campaign. The ship is also projected to be equipped with a robust combination of air defence weaponry, such as a SAM and/or a CIWS.[40]

Kamov Ka-31 "Helix" are to be based on the INS Vikramaditya in an airborne early warning role.

The hull design is based on the earlier Admiral Gorshkov, launched in 1982, but it will be larger with a full load displacement. The conversion plans for the aircraft carrier involve all the armament, including the P-500 Bazalt cruise missile launchers and the four Antey Kinzhal surface-to-air missile launchers fitted on the front, to be removed to make way for a 14.3º bow ski-jump. Two restraining stands will also be fitted, allowing combat aircraft to reach full power before making a ski jump-assisted short take-off. The ability to launch only one aircraft at a time might prove to be a hindrance. Under the modernisation plan, the 20-ton capacity elevator beside the ship's island superstructure will remain unchanged, but the aft lift will be enlarged and its lift capacity increased to 30 tons. Three arresting gears would be fitted on the aft part of the angled deck. Navigation and carrier-landing aids would be refitted to support fixed-wing STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) operations including the LAK optical-landing system.[41]

Artist concept of the Vikramaditya operating as a STOBAR carrier

The eight boilers are being removed and converted to take diesel fuel instead of furnace fuel oil and modern oil-water separators as well as a sewage treatment plant are being incorporated to meet international standards. She is also being fitted with six new Italian-made Wärtsilä 1.5 MW diesel generators, a Global Marine communications system, Sperry Bridgemaster navigation radar, a new telephone exchange, new data link and an IFF Mk XI system. Hotel services are being improved with new water-producing plants as well as York International refrigeration and air conditioning. A new galley is being installed together with improved domestic services and accommodation for 10 female officers.[41]

Though the official expected life span of the ship is 20 years, experts suggest it could actually be a minimum of 30 years from the time of commissioning. On completion of the modernisation, over 70 percent of the ship and her equipment will be new and the remainder will have been refurbished.[41]

Refurbishment progress

Indian Navy MiG-29K at MAKS Airshow.

All reconfiguration work was completed at Severodvinsk, Russia; however it was delayed by three years due to underestimation of the amount of cabling needed.[42] An expert level discussion on technical and financial matters was held between India and Russia to sort out the issues.[43] The MiG-29K entered operational service with India in February 2010. A compromise was finalised and India was to pay an extra undisclosed amount. Russia was to install new systems instead of repairing the old ones.[44]

On 1 June 2010, the Times of India reported a naval officer saying: "With India earlier this year agreeing to the revised refit cost of $2.33 billion for Gorshkov, after three years of bitter wrangling since the earlier agreement inked in January 2004 had earmarked only $974 million for it, Russia has appointed a high-level apex committee to oversee the work on the carrier." The ship was to go for harbour trials by early 2011 to ensure it can be handed over to India by December 2012 or so.[38][45] Dock trials began on 1 March 2011. The focus of these trials was on the main power generation units and the radio-electronic armament systems, manufactured in India.[46][47] Indian Navy personnel began training on INS Vikramaditya in April 2011.[48] On 19 April 2012, it was announced that all internal systems were functioning, and the ship was entirely self-contained. Measurement of the ship's magnetic field and centre of gravity were performed before sea trials began.[49]

Russia was scheduled to hand over Vikramaditya to India on 4 December 2012,[50] with sea trials scheduled to begin on 29 May 2012.[51] The sea trials for Vikramaditya, in fact, began on 8 June. The ship sailed out for pre-delivery trials from the berth of the Sevmash shipyard in Russia's northern city of Severodvinsk. These trials were to include landing and take-off of fighter jets from the deck of the carrier.[52][53][54]

On 17 September 2012, malfunctions were detected during trials. According to official report, seven out of eight steam boilers of the propulsion machinery were out of order. Because of this, the deadline of hand over this ship to Indian Navy was postponed again until October 2013.[55] Later investigation has determined that the cause for the engine failure was due to poor workmanship and supervision.[56] The Gorshkov and other ships of the 1143.4 class had a history of multiple boiler failures,[57] however Russian shipbuilders claimed that the source of the problem was the low-grade Chinese-made firebricks that were used in the boiler insulation instead of asbestos.[58]

On 3 July 2013, Igor Sevastyanov, deputy head of Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, announced that the warship had departed for sea trials with a mix of Russian and Indian crew.[59] On 28 July 2013, it was reported that Vikramaditya had successfully completed her sea trials and was able to reach her maximum speed of 32 knots. She then proceeded to the White Sea for aviation trials.[13] Aviation trials were completed in September 2013.[14] The ship is expected to be handed over by November 2013.[60]

The Navy is expected to commission the aircraft carrier in Russia and sail it back to India by October–November 2013. She is expected to join active service by December.[61] INS Vikramaditya will be commissioned into the Indian Navy on 15 November 2013 at a ceremony to be held in Severodvinsk. The delivery date was confirmed during talks in Moscow between Indian Defence Secretary R K Mathur and Alexander Fomin, Director, Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation.[15]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Literally Vikramaditya translates as being "Sun (Aditya) of valour" (Vikram). The component "āditya" (sun) literally means "he who belongs to Aditi". It was the title of some of the most famous kings in Indian history, such as the Vikramaditya of Ujjain, famed as a noble ruler and a mighty warrior. It is also a title that was used by the Indian emperor Chandragupta II who ruled between 375-413/15 AD. This title was again used by the Hindu king Hemu who ruled Delhi from 7 October to 5 November 1556.

References

  1. ^ a b c PTI (10 March 2010). "Gorshkov deal finalised at USD 2.3 billion". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  2. ^ "INS Vikramaditya completes engine repairs and readies for sea trials". Naval Technology. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  3. ^ "NAVY – Project 1143". Bharat-Rakshak.com. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Indian Carrier Begins Sea Trials | Defense News". defensenews.com. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Vikramaditya to be handed to the Indian Navy on November 16". India & Russia Report. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Indias Future Aircraft Carrier Force". Idsa.in. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  7. ^ John Pike. "R Vikramaditya [ex-Gorshkov]". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  8. ^ PTI. "Engine problems in INS Vikramaditya fixed, sea trial to start in June – Economic Times". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 27 April 2013. an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots. It will have an air wing consisting of Russian-made MiG-29K jet fighter planes and Kamov Ka-31 early warning radar helicopters.
  9. ^ Bharat Verma 2011, p. 45.
  10. ^ Bharat Verma 2011, pp. 45–46.
  11. ^ Terry Brien 2012, p. 1145.
  12. ^ "Russia further delays delivery of Admiral Gorshkov to India". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 10 October 2012. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)[dead link]
  13. ^ a b "INS Vikramaditya sea trials successful". The Hindu. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Vikramaditya likely to be delivered in mid-November". The Hindu. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
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  17. ^ "INS Vikramaditya to be commissioned on November 16". Times of India. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
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  23. ^ NDTV News clip on price increase
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  26. ^ Pratiyogita Darpan. 2009. p. PD/Janurary/2009/1140. ((cite book)): Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
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  29. ^ http://www.ptinews.com/news/202829_Navy-chief-defends-price-paid-for-Admiral-Gorshkov
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  31. ^ Dyomkin, Denis (7 December 2009). "Russia agrees carrier delivery terms with India". In.reuters.com. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
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  34. ^ Dutta, Sujan (16 April 2010). "Speedy probe into navy 'honey trap' – Panel hands in report on commodore". Calcutta, India: telegraphindia.com.
  35. ^ "Senior navy officer to be sacked for sexual misconduct". Sify News. 5 February 2011.
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  40. ^ "WHAT". Indiadefence.com. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
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  42. ^ "The U.S. tries to shut Russia out of India's defense market". Weeklystandard.com. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  43. ^ Only few technical, financial issues pending on Gorshkov deal[dead link]
  44. ^ (AFP) – 27 February 2008 (27 February 2008). "India, Russia end spat over Soviet-era aircraft carrier". Afp.google.com. Retrieved 7 March 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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  56. ^ Russia Copes With The Vikramaditya Disaster – Strategypage.com, 14 October 2012
  57. ^ John Pike (4 December 2012). "Russia Completes Indian Carrier Engine Repairs". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  58. ^ PTI. "Engine problems in INS Vikramaditya fixed, sea trial to start in June – Economic Times". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
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Bibliography

64°34′51.22″N 39°48′31.56″E / 64.5808944°N 39.8087667°E / 64.5808944; 39.8087667