The Sevmash shipyard has at last delivered INS Vikramadiyta (R33) to the Indian Navy. The troubled refurbishment project concluded with a commissioning ceremony at Severodvinsk on 16 November, five years late and three times over budget.
The Kiev class aircraft carrier, as Admiral Gorshkov, was decommissioned from Russian service in 1996, although she was first offered to India for the cost of her refit in 1994. After years of negotiation a US$947 million deal was forged in 2004, with the conversion scheduled to take 52 months.
However, after a series of setbacks because of the worse than anticipated material state of the hull and severe cold weather, the shipyard period lasted almost a decade, escalating costs to more than $US2 billion.
Still without air-defence or point defence weapons systems, Vikramadiyta embarked on a two-month voyage to her new west coast base at Karwar, accompanied by a frigate escort and the fleet tanker, INSDeepak.