New Delhi: The Indian Navy has despatched the first batch of 152 officers and sailors to Russia for commencement of training onboard INS Vikramaditya (ex-Adm Gorshkov) ahead of its induction into service next year. The refurbished and redesigned warship is due for delivery by December next.
The naval contingent has travelled to St. Petersburg, Russia for training onboard the 45,000-tonne aircraft carrier. A navy spokesman said the crew reached St Petersburg some three weeks ago and consists mainly of technical and warship personnel.
The navy will be training its personnel for onboard operations in batches. At full strength the carrier will carry a staff of 1,400 members. The crew has been imparted Russian language skills.
The rebuilt ship is due for delivery to the navy in December 2012.
Ahead of delivery of the ship, the navy has begun operating a shore-based test facility in Goa to train naval aviators who would eventually fly the MiG-29K fighter aircraft that would operate from INS Vikramaditya.
The Adm Gorshkov was a combined battle cruiser and aircraft carrier in its earlier avatar with the erstwhile Soviet navy. It has now been completely overhauled and redesigned to serve with the Indian Navy in a pure aircraft carrier configuration.