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which the cruiser remained idle after decommissioned the remaining fuel
started to carbonize, which complicated its eventual removal.
Old cabling, totaling 2,400 kilometers, was replaced by brand-new
material, with the only exception being an 11 km line of demagnetizing
wiring in the fuel and ballast tanks. The flight-deck has received a sky
ramp and an extender in the stern, the work being undetaken in a covered
workshop. Yet most of the modernization work was done in the open.
In 2008, on the Indian Navy Day of December 4, the ship was towed
from the dock to the adjacent harbor and moored at Embankment
Place 3 (outfitting jetty). This made it possible to use powerful cranes to
load heavy and bulky equipment into the hull, previously carried in via
technological cutaways. After placing electrical power generators, boilers,
gearboxes and the turbine’s reduction gearing, the cutaways were welded-
in. All eight boilers for the main propulsion machinery are new. The Baltic
Plant produced one more for the training purposes in its St. Petersburg
educational facilities for use by Indian specialists.
The Vikramaditya’s machinery is a mixture of old and new. Some
items have been retained from the Gorshkov. However, certain vendor
items were purchased new from non-Russian suppliers in accordance
with the Indian Navy’s procurement requirements. Lastly, the Nevskoye
PKB required installation of additional equipment in order to meet the
During the course of the modernization work Sevmash placed over 800
contracts for vendor items with more than 200 suppliers, including ten
Indian companies as well as a number of others from Croatia, Denmark,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the
UK. The grand total of companies involved in the industrial cooperation
on the Vikramaditya exceeded 400.
Indian-made systems include the CCS-MK II for communication, the
LINK II for data transfer, the KATC for automatic telephone exchange and
DAPS for landing indication, as well as the ALAN P-11430 administrative
local network and cable TV. The Macrotech protective coating, interrogators
friend-or-foe, transponders, torsion meters, life rafts, pumps, circuit
breakers, filters, smoke density indicators, hygiene and galley equipment
also come from India.
France supplies Thales telephones and gyrocompasses, the UK adds a
cargo transfer system between ships at sea. Six auxiliary diesels come from
Wartsila of Finland. Key control and resource management systems are of
Russian and Indian origin. Early on, the Indian side considered the Barak-1
short-range antiaircraft system from Israel. The Russians flatly refused to
accept such things from a third country on the ground that otherwise they
cannot guarantee performance of the ship in wartime.
Firms based in St. Petersburg supply global navigation system receivers
using global positioning signals from the GPS and the Glonass satellite
constellations, as well core systems for ship controls, data acquisition,
processing and management. The Fregat and Podberezovik radars come
from Moscow-based Salut Plant. The former (with antennae atop the
superstructure) can detect aerial targets at a distance of 250 km, the latter
(antennae seen above the flag-deck) at 500 km. The Ladoga navigation
system comes from Elektropribor, and lighting equipment, lamps and
signal projectors from Saturn – the company, not the planet.
The Resistor and Luna systems helps pilots make flight-deck landings.
Its elements are found in the stern, on the superstructure (including that
covered by a large protective ring below the Fregat antennae) and on a
special mast astern of the superstructure. The Gorshkov had a Resistor and
the Vikramaditya features a newer version. The most recent addition is an
automated communications channel enabling two-way data exchange
between airborne aircraft and the ship. The forward elevator has been
retained, while the second one has been enlarged.
As of now, the Vikramaditya does not have missiles or guns. The customer
is choosing between the AK630 30-mm six-barrel antiaircraft cannon and
the Kashtan combined missile/cannon antiaircraft system. The November
inspection of the ship revealed writings “reserved room, Kashtan system”
on doors of certain superstructure compartments, which might be a hint.
Reserved space should be enough for two or four AA/SAM mountings.
Forty-five officers headed by Captain R. Swaminathan form the core of
the Indian navy supervising team. They will live in Severodvinsk with
their families until the ship is delivered. The Russian side is contracted
to train 1,400 Indian specialists in ship maintenance and servicing. In
November, 96 Indian specialists underwent training at Sevmash. They live
in Severodvinsk and go to the ship every working day, preparing to serve
on her when commissioned.
The first sea voyage shall be conducted by a Russian Navy team headed
by Captain Igor Ryabko, formerly Kuznetsov’s deputy commander. The
seamen take daily drills on the ship and in dedicated training centers. In
February they should start living on the ship, as Russian naval practice
During sea trials, up to 2,700 people are expected onboard, comprising
the Russian Navy’s team, their Indian equivalent and a number of industry
representatives. To accommodate them, the ship has 328 sea cabins (by
that the ship’s developer understands living chambers containing one,
two, four or even six beds) and 43 mess-decks (living accommodation
for rating). Also, there are three messes (galleys/canteens): wardroom
(officers), for midshipmen and for ratings. Most of the living areas are in
the nose section with some also near the hangar.
Sea trials will involve a pair of industry-owned MiGs. One is a purposely-
built MiG-29K (number 941). The other is a MiG-35D (number 154) land-
based twin seat fighter demonstrator now undergoing modifications into
a ship-borne version. The decision was influence by the MiG-35 having
been screened out of the finals of the MMRCA tender, and the crash of a
purposely-built MiG-29KUB (number 951) near the Russian air force firing
range in the Akhtuba area during trials. According to Indian media reports,
11 out of 16 MiG-29K/KUB deck fighters on order were delivered between
February 2010 and May 2011. They are stationed at the Fleet Air Arm’s base
Inside the bridge
Credit: V Karnazov
APDR Dec 2011.indd 48
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