On Saturday the Indian Navy formally took delivery of the INS Vikramaditya. The aircraft carrier is the former Soviet Admiral Gorshkov, which has been refurbished and retrofitted by the Sevmash shipyard at Severodvinsk in the north of European Russia (see story page 22). India’s defense minister, Arackaparambil Kurian Antony, attended the ceremony.
The Indian navy ship Vikramaditya successfully completed testing recently and, after final adjustments and painting at Sevmash Dockyards in northwest Russia, was due to be handed over to a Indian navy crew of 1,326 that is eagerly awaiting the November 15 handover ceremony, just before the Dubai show.
The contract between India and Russia to cooperate on the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile expires in February next year but is likely “to be renewed indefinitely by the end of [this] year,” an Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) official, who did not wish to be identified, told AIN. “We’re partners. It’s not for us to divulge,” Shivathnu Pillai, CEO and managing director of BrahMos Aerospace, told AIN.
The future of the Russian navy aircraft carrier component is in doubt after the Russian defense ministry decided to have its nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov, rather than its aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, repaired and refitted at Sevmash, the nation’s largest dockyard.
Flight trials of the MiG-29K on the INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) in the Barents Sea have been completed. Deliveries of the naval version of the fighter to India continue, with the carrier to follow on November 15, and the Russian Navy will soon receive its first MiG-29K.
India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has issued a request for proposal for nine medium-range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft for the Indian Navy, plus 38 anti-ship missiles. The Navy has taken delivery of the first of eight Boeing P-8I Poseidon jets, and Boeing Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Although the new RFP seems to encourage smaller, lower-cost airframes and weapons, its terms may limit the bids.
India will launch its 37,500-ton indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) on August 12 at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala. The ship is scheduled for induction by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, the former Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, now the INS Vikramaditya, conducted final trials in the Barents Sea this week with its squadron of MiG-29K combat jets embarked. It is due to be delivered by year-end, after a delay of more than four years.
The U.S. Navy declared the P-8A Poseidon ready to join the fleet following completion of the aircraft’s initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) phase. The Navy issued its IOT&E report on July 1, according to the Naval Air Systems Command (Navair). The service conducted testing from last September to March.
The U.S. Navy’s next-generation maritime patrol jet, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, is months away from starting its first operational deployment, which will hasten the retirement of the venerable P-3C Orion turboprop.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has issued a contract for the modernization of the Navy’s fleet of Ilyushin Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft. The Novella mission system will be installed in an unspecified but “large” number of aircraft serving in the Northern Fleet, making them Il-38Ns. Of the 59 aircraft produced between 1967 and 1972, some 18 are currently in operation. The work was initially planned for the Ministry of Defence’s aircraft repair plant No. 20 at Pushkino, but instead the MoD has contracted UAC’s Ilyushin and Myasishchev to undertake it at the Zhukovsky airbase near Moscow.
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