Admiral Gorshkov is being completely modernised : official

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Moscow, Mar 24 (UNI) The heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov was being completely modernised for the Indian Navy, a top Russian official said today.

The Head of the Federal Agency for Industry, Andrei Dutov, said the Sevmash shipyard was currently working on the complete modernisation of the Admiral Gorshkov.

''Neither the Russian nor the Indian sides had initially realised the amount of work that was to be done and the respective expenditures,'' Mr Dutov said in an interview to the Vedomosti.

''In fact, the warship is being completely modernised and the job is tantamount to the construction of an absolutely new one. The contract is unique,'' he noted.

We believe the problems coming up with our Indian partners will be settled. The talks are very constructive, Mr Dutov told the newspaper, adding that the Indian partners were dealing with the current situation quite adequately.

''The revision of the contract seems legitimate,'' he said.

Under the original deal, India had agreed to pay 1.5 billion dollar for the tetrofitting of Admiral Gorshkov together with 16 MiG-29K and six 'Kamov' helicopters, specially delivered to it, and also the training of pilots and delivery of all the required equipment and spare parts.

However, it was later found that the calculated volume of jobs was underestimated, in particular due to the need of replacing tens of kilometres of different cables, as well as of several aggregates and assemblies.

The initial sum had also to be increased due to the declining exchange rate of the US dollar.

During a visit to Russia by the Indian delegation led Defence Secretrary Mr M Natarajan earlier this month, it was agreed that the modernisation of Admiral Gorshkov could be completed by mid-2010 if the problem of additional payments was promptly settled.

After that, the aircraft carrier would be subjected to intensive 18-month-long seagoing tests in the Russian Navy to check the working of all of its systems. The tests are to include several distant cruises and the use of deck aircraft.

It is expected that Admiral Gorshkov would be renamed as INS "Vikramaditya" and will be inducted in the Indian Navy in 2012.

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