The aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, ordered by the Indian Navy from Russia back in 2004, is finally likely to be commissioned late next year after undergoing trials in Russia, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi said yesterday.
Adm Joshi admitted at at the Navy's annual day function in New Delhi that the delivery of 'INS Vikramaditya', as Gorshkov will be renamed, has been delayed.
"There has been a delay in the delivery of INS Vikramaditya; but it has sailed for more than 100 days in the recent past and completed the majority of her equipment and aviation trials. The revised schedule envisages the delivery of the ship in the last quarter of 2013," he said.
Defence experts wonder why India ordered the aged Soviet ship at all; and see it as an example of India's failure to indigenise its defence needs despite huge expenditure – the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, in a report tabled in Parliament last week, said that the country has bled Rs1,227 crore on defence establishments without results; it still continues to depend on imports to meet the armed forces' needs.
The aircraft carrier was first launched in 1982 in what was then the USSR. Even then, it saw software bugs in the command and control system.
In 1994, following a boiler room explosion, the ship was docked for a year. She was finally withdrawn from the Russian navy 1996. India agreed in January 2004 to buy what most experts would consider an outdated and malfunctioning hulk.