The first sea trials of the INS Vikramaditya, the erstwhile Russian carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, have been postponed by five months. Russian website RUSNAVY.com reports that the sortie, which was earlier scheduled for the end of this year, is now being planned for May 2012.
This comes after the visit of Vice Admiral NN Kumar, last week, to the Sevmash shipyard in Russia, where the carrier is being refit. Kumar, who is the Controller of Warship Production &. Acquisition for the Indian Navy, was on a visit to inspect the work being done on the carrier.
However, it is understood that while the beginning of the trials will be delayed, the shipyard has committed to completion of the trials by the earlier timeline, with the acceptance certificate still scheduled for December 2012.
Indian Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony will be visiting Russia from Monday as co-chairman of the 11th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov, where the issue of the delivery of the Admiral Gorshkov will also be on the agenda.
Sources in the Indian Navy said that this was not a wholly unexpected development, with the seas in the waters off Northern Russia known to be difficult in winter. They confirmed, however, that the overall delivery schedule remains unaffected, so far.