Vikramaditya aircraft carrier to leave harbor after boilers repaired in early July

The Indian aircraft carrier, the Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov), being upgraded by the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, will resume at-sea trials in early July 2013, a spokesman for the Russian Navy's Main Staff told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

"Under the new timeframe, the Vikramaditya will leave the harbor on July 3. The at-sea trials plan will be fully implemented, despite the previous results," he said.

But before the sea trials the ship will spend two months at the Sevmash dock, where its underwater part will be examined between early May and late June.

Part of the crew will go ashore to their winter apartments in about ten days, and only several dozen crewmembers under Captain First Rank Igor Ryabko's and his Indian colleague Suraj Berry's command, will stay, alongside Sevmash specialists and observation officers, he said.

"After the boiler facility's sealing is replaced in February the crew will gather together to begin preparations for at-sea trials," the spokesman said.

He said steam boilers malfunctioned when the aircraft carrier was undergoing sea trials, which necessitated adjustments in the delivery schedule.

United Shipbuilding Corporation President Andrei Dyachkov told the media on October 30 in St. Petersburg that the work on the Vikramaditya would have been finished in October 2013 and the ship will be handed over to the Indian customer before the end of 2013.

The contract to refit the Russian heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian Navy was signed in 2004. The funding included $974 million to restore and upgrade the ship, and $530 million to deliver 16 MiG-29K fighter jets and Kamov Ka-31 and Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopters.

The Vikramaditya was to be handed over to the customer back in 2008. The deadline was rescheduled due to a large amount of work planned. The price of the deal increased, too. The project is now estimated at $2.3 billion, according to unofficial sources.

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