Indian patience and Russian pride have been sorely tested after the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya stunningly failed maximum power runs during sea trials that were otherwise deemed a great success. The malfunction of seven out of the ship’s eight steam boilers overshadowed the 44,000-tonne ship’s good sea-keeping, excellent manoeuvrability and impressive aviation serials using a pair of MiG-29K fighters.
The latest setback, caused by the deformation of heat insulation lining, will take five months to repair. As further pre-delivery trials cannot be carried out until winter ice has melted, the handover will be delayed until next autumn. Boiler failures were a legacy of the original vessel’s design, where they lasted just 20 per cent of the design life stated by their makers. Theproject to retrofit the former Soviet warship is already more than four years late.