By one measure more than 32 years in the making, India’s new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, departed Severodvinsk harbor on June 8 and sailed into the White Sea for trials, including takeoffs and landings of Mikoyan MiG-29K/KUB fighters and Kamov Ka-27 helicopters.
The prototype MiG-29K (side number 311) was loaded by crane onto India’s new aircraft carrier in Severodvinsk last month. The Sevmash Dockyard said that work to convert the former Russian cruiser Gorshkov is 90 percent complete.
India agreed to buy 80 Mil Mi-17V-5 helicopters worth $1.2 billion during a visit to Delhi by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev early this month. These will replace 35-year old Mi-8 choppers the Indian Air Force currently flies. The deal includes weapons options and an offset obligation worth $405 million. Accompanying Medvedev were Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov and United Aircraft Corp. chief Alexei Fedorov.