Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Now Yard Boss Blames Boilers for India Carrier Trials Snags

Source RIA NOVASTI- A defense industry official quoted by Kommersant newspaper on Monday, who prepared the Vikramaditya for sea trials, said the reason for the boilers’ failure was that India refused to use asbestos to protect the boilers from heat, fearing that the material was dangerous for the crew. Instead, it used firebrick, which had poorer insulating properties.
The purchase and refit of the Vikramaditya has experienced a long-running catalog of failures and setbacks.
India and Russia signed the $947 million dollar deal in 2005 for the purchase of the carrier, with an original deadline for the refit’s completion of 2008. Delivery was delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the carrier to $2.3 billion.
Both sides were locked in protracted arguments over who would pay the extra costs, as it became clear that the refit would be much more complicated than originally envisaged. A new agreement was signed in 2009 with the Indians agreeing to pay for the extra work needed.
Another Sevmash shipyard director, Vladimir Pastukhov, was fired in 2007 over his poor management of the project.
The Vikramaditya was originally built as the Soviet Project 1143.4 class aircraft carrier Baku.
The ship was laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned with the Soviet Navy in 1987.
It was renamed Admiral Gorshkov after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1994, the Admiral Gorshkov sat in dock for a year for repairs after a boiler room explosion. In 1995, it briefly returned to service but was finally withdrawn and put up for sale in 1996.
The ship has a displacement of 45,000 tons, a maximum speed of 32 knots and an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots.
India has already started taking delivery of the MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft for the Vikramaditya, as they were ready before the refit was completed. The MiG-29Ks will operate in STOBAR (short take-off but assisted recovery via arresting wires) mode.

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