April 21, 2009, Moscow -- Russia will deliver the modernized Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier to the Indian Navy in 2012, a senior shipbuilding industry official has said.
"Under an agreement with India, the aircraft will be delivered in 2012. Almost 2,000 highly-qualified workers are currently involved in the overhaul [of the ship]," Vladimir Pakhomov, the president of Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation, said in an interview published on Tuesday with the Vremya Novostei newspaper.
"We will increase the number of workers and speed up the work, making sure that it does not affect the quality. We are continuing talks with Indian officials about the additional financing of the project," he added.
The original $750 million 2004 contract between Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and the Indian Navy envisioned that work on the aircraft carrier would be completed in 2008.
However, Russia later claimed it had underestimated the scale and the cost of the modernization and demanded an additional $1.2 billion, which New Delhi said was "exorbitant."
After long-running delays and disputes, Russia and India agreed in February 2008 to raise retrofit costs for the aircraft carrier, docked at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia for the past 12 years, by at least $800 million.
The current contract covers a complete overhaul of the ship and equipping it with modern weaponry, including MiG-29K Fulcrum aircraft and Ka-27 Helix-A and Ka-31 Helix-B anti-submarine helicopters.
The Admiral Gorshkov carrier, renamed the Vikramaditya, is to replace India's INS Viraat carrier, which, although currently operational, is now 50 years old.
After modernization, the carrier is expected to be seaworthy for 30 years.
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