Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (also Gorshkov), the Indian Navy's last remaining vessel to be delivered by a foreign shipyard, came out with flying colours when it was operated on full throttle during exhaustive sea trials in Barents Sea in Russia on Saturday.
The trial feedback helped in overcoming anxiety in New Delhi about the performance of the ship which had faltered during high speed runs last year when its boilers faulted resulting in engines failing to produce adequate power to propel the 45,000-ton vessel.
It was a major setback as the delivery of the ship, India's second aircraft carrier, was pushed by a year. After extensive repairs, the ship was back in the sea earlier this month for final delivery trials.
Navy personnel are onboard the vessel, keeping a hawk eye on the performance of the carrier which is going to be the flagship of its fleet in the coming decades.
Sources said the carrier touched top speed of around 32 knots in wind and tide condition and the trials will continue to test capability of the retrofitted ship that will cost India around $ 2.3 billion.
The high speed trials will continue for some more days to ensure that performance is stable. It will be followed by trial landings by the Mig-29K fighters. The deck landings and take-offs were performed by the Russian pilots last year as well.
The navy hopes that its floating airbase would be ready for commissioning by the end of this year and its formal induction will take place in the early months of 2014.
INS Vikramaditya is now the only naval warship in a foreign shipyard. All the remaining 41 warships are being constructed in domestic shipyards in a major boost to the local shipbuilding industry.