Mumbai, Aug 17 (IANS) Pipavav Defence, a part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, is likely to get the contract for a refit of INS Vikramaditya, the modified Kiev-class Russia-made aircraft carrier that entered the Indian Navy in 2013, informed sources said on Monday.
The Indian Navy intends to have the first refit done immediately after its fleet review, planned sometime in February of 2016. In the meanwhile, the details of the repairs required at Pipavav, along with the financial quote, is being prepared, the sources added.
The refit is expected to take around four months. Pipavav is also in the race for the next set of aircraft carrieries to be built in India — a project worth more than Rs.60,000 crore (less than $10 billion).
India, at present, has two fully operational aircraft carriers:
– INS Viraat, a British-built ship that was first launched in the sea in 1953 and was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1987. It is to be decommissioned next year.
– INS Vikramaditya, a modified Kiev-class Russian aircraft carrier, which joined the Indian Navy in November 2013.
This apart, INS Vikrant, the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier, was undocked at the Cochin Shipyard in June this year and touted as a milestone in domestic warship manufacturing.
The journey of INS Vikramaditya started as Kiev-class aircraft carrying cruiser “Baku” and was re-named after Admiral Sergey Georgiyevich Gorshkov.
Since the takeover by the Reliance Group, Pipavav Defence has seen some brisk developments. It has been selected by Zvyozdochka Shipyard of Russia for refit of EKM 877 submarines in India — the refit of 24 submarines is seen as a potential business worth Rs.30,000 crore.
The company has also been selected by United Shipbuilding Company of Russia for the manufacture of four Talwar class frigates, sources added.
This apart, it had announced a pact last month with Russia’s JSC Ship Repairing Centre for medium re-fits and certification of the 877-EKM Submarines in India — a project potentially worth Rs.11,000 crore ($1.7 billion).
Zvyozdochka, in fact, had already informed the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Indian Navy) about the selection of Pipavav Defence as its Indian partner for the medium refit and life certification of EKM 877 submarines in India.
Founded in 1954, Zvyozdochka is the premier ship-repairing centre in Russia and undertakes such work for warships and submarines of the Russian Navy. So far, 120 submarines and 90 warships have upgradaded and refurbished by it.