Monday, November 16, 2009

Indian rust bucket “aircraft” carrier deal

All Indian sopas are bad. Some are worse than others. Bollywood has perfected the art of transmitting visual pain through their soaps. The saga of the Indian rust buckets (air craft carriers) is a funny one. Bharat is using a 50s vintage bucket—which is now being replaced by a very expensive one—if Delhi and Moscow can ever agree to a price tag.The normal life of a ship is 20 years. This aircraft carrier was obsoleted by the British in the 80s. The huge expense has not project Bharati power anywhere. It has been unable to use this colossal white elephant anywhere. Not in one situation has it been able to project any power. It is like taking a Kia to race car to impress people that you have a car.the Viraat rust bucket hosts 18 obsolete Harrier planes. The words “power” and Viraat should not be used in the same sentence. it is anything but powerful.

The Indian Navy's lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat will complete 50 years in service Wednesday, a defence official said Monday.

'The navy chief (Admiral Nirmal Verma) will be going to Mumbai tomorrow (Tuesday) and he will also be on board the vessel, on the day she turns 50,' said a senior navy official, requesting anonymity.

INS Viraat, which has a crew of 1,500 personnel, has just been given a life-extending re-fit at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd, where it was docked for the past year.

The refit has increased the aircraft carrier's sea life with the Indian Navy till 2015.

The 28,000-tonne INS Viraat, the Centaur class aircraft carrier, was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes Nov 18, 1959.

The Indian Navy acquired it in 1987 after it had served the Royal Navy for nearly 28 years.

'An extensive refit - with brand new fire control equipment, navigation radars, improved nuclear, biological and chemical protection and deck landing aids - has increased the life of the vessel into the next decade,' the official said.

The aircraft carrier gives the Indian Navy an edge over the Chinese navy, which does not have one.

The Indian Navy's second aircraft carrier - Russian-built Admiral Gorshkov - is expected to be inducted by 2012.

INS Viraat is pivotal to the navy's aim to project India's naval and air power well beyond its shores. It provides operation ground for Sea Harrier combat jets. It can carry up to 18 combat aircraft and is suited for supporting amphibious operations and conducting anti-submarine warfare. India's sole aircraft carrier turns 50 Wednesday 2009-11-16 17:50:00. Sify News

The drama of the rust bucket’s repalcement by another rust bucket—this one for $3 Billion continues unabated

Click Image to Enlarge


New Delhi: A 40-member Russian delegation has arrived in India to discuss the price hike for refurbishment of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, even as both the sides have "dug in their heels" on what they are willing to settle as the final price, an Indian Navy official said on Monday.

The price negotiations for Gorshkov, to be commissioned in the Indian Navy as INS Vikramditya, have dragged on for long with both sides refusing to budge from their stands.
"The Russian delegation is in town for the price negotiation of the aircraft carrier. But the current position is that both the sides (Indian and Russia) have dug in their heels as far as final price is concerned. What will matter now is who blinks first," the senior Indian Navy official told.

The Russians are demanding $2.9 billion for the refurbishment work, whereas Indians are asking them to climb down to $2.1 billion.
However, the official said that till the time a final price tag is fixed for the 45,000 tonne Kiev class aircraft carrier, the work on the vessel will progress at the usual pace.

"That is the agreement between the two sides that the work on the aircraft carrier would not be stalled. The delivery date for the aircraft carrier fixed at 2012 will be honoured. India has released about over 650 million dollars so far for the refit work," the official added.

The price negotiations failed to make any headway even during Defence Minister A.K. Antony's visit to Russia.

India had paid around $600 million initially after an agreement between the two countries in 2004, according to which the old aircraft carrier was gifted as free but India was to pay $974 million to modify and upgrade it in accordance with Indian Navy's specifications.

In 2007, however, the Russians said they had made a mistake in their calculations to repair and modify Gorshkov, and demanded another $1.2 billion. Recently, they have added still another $700 million saying that modifications, and then sea trials, would be more expensive than estimated by them earlier.
The total demand by the Russians now touches $2.9 billion, instead of $974 million as originally contracted.

The delivery of the aircraft carrier has also been pushed from 2008 to 2012-13, although repair work on it is continuing without break at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia's Arctic coast. Russian team in India to negotiate Gorshkov price. (Source: IANS) Published: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 at 16:45 IST

Tags: New Delhi , INS Vikramditya , Gorshkov

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