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India to launch first aircraft carrier in 2013

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India renamed Russian-origin Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier (shown) to “INS Vikramaditya.”

Indian Defense Minister AK Antony says Russia will deliver a renovated Soviet-era aircraft carrier in the last quarter of 2013.

The Indian minister told the lower house of the parliament on Monday that the end of 2013 was set as the date for the handover of the Russian-origin aircraft carrier, which is renamed “INS Vikramaditya” by India.

“The delivery of Vikramaditya has been delayed to the last quarter of 2013 against the envisaged delivery schedule of December 2012,” Anthony said.

Russia was expected to deliver the 44,570-ton warship in August 2008, Anthony stated, adding that the price was $978.4 million in 2004, when the deal was signed, but it was revised to $2.3 billion in 2012.

Antony said technical problems led to the delay.

“The total cost of the project will remain at $2.3 billion at the time of delivery in the last quarter of 2013.”

The 30-year-old warship needed new turbines, boilers, 2,500 kilometers of cabling and reinforcement of its flight deck.

Based on the deal between India and Russian firms, the warship should be equipped with modern weapons, 16 MiG-29 fighter jets and a fleet of anti-submarine helicopters.

In December 2011, Russia handed over the nuclear-powered attack submarine Nerpa to the Indian government after over two years of delay.

The Indian defense minister made the remarks a day after the Chinese Defense Ministry said on November 26 that a Chinese-made J-15 fighter landed on its own aircraft carrier, also bought from Russia, which entered into service in September.


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