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India seeks aircraft carrier joint maintenance with Russia

Feb. 14, 2014 at 12:05 AM

MOSCOW, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- India took delivery of its refurbished Soviet-era aircraft carrier in January, but wants help to maintain it.

INS Vikramaditya was originally the Soviet Navy's Admiral Gorshkhov, a modified Kiev class aircraft carrier. The ship was commissioned by the Soviet navy in 1987 but mothballed in 1996 because of budget cutbacks.

In 2004 India and Russia signed a $947 million contract for the purchase and refit of the ship. By completion of the contract in late 2013, cost of the refurbishment had risen to $2.3 billion.

Now India is proposing to service INS Vikramaditya with Russia's White Sea-based Sevmash shipyard over the next four decades, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday.

Sevmash said the current servicing contract is for 20 years, but that Indian naval officials have proposed to extend that time frame and told journalists, "Our Indian partners have proposed to conduct all service work on the ship together with Sevmash."

The 45,400-ton INS Vikramaditya's air wing will consist of 30 Mikoyan MiG-29K fighters and six Kamov Ka-31 and Kamov Ka-28 helicopters.

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