New Delhi: Pending settlement of the final price for the refit programme of aircraft carrier Adm Gorshkov (re-named INS Vikramaditya), India has cleared an instalment of $122 million to Russia to continue with the modification work. Reports suggest that the payment was sanctioned sometime early this month by the government.
Under the original agreement, signed in 2004, India was to pay $974 million to modify and upgrade the Adm Gorshkov in accordance with Indian Navy specifications. By 2007 the Russians halted work on the carrier saying they had erred in their original calculations and that the work required to be done on the carrier would cost far more than the agreement envisaged.
Image: US Navy
Initially, a demand was made for an additional $1.2 billion, which was eventually enhanced by another $700 million. This latter addition is primarily towards costs for sea trials. These additional demands have taken overall costs of the refit to $2.9 billion, which India has been refusing to accommodate, as they represent a $2 billion jump over the original contract.
Delivery of the carrier has also been pushed back from the original 2008 to 2012-13, mainly on account of sea trials, which the Russians claim will take atleast two years.
The Gorshkov is being fitted out at Sevmash, a Russian shipyard located on its Arctic coast.
The Gorshkov deal also involves a related $740 million contract for 16 MiG-29K aircraft, which includes four trainer MiG-29KUBs. The first four aircraft will arrive by the end of the year.