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12:44
AGREEMENT ON EXTRA $1.2 B FOR ADMIRAL GORSHKOV PROJECT CAN BE REACHED SOON

Moscow, August 5 (Interfax-AVN) - A positive decision regarding a request to increase the budget of efforts to repair and modernize the heavy aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov can be taken in the near future, a source close to the negotiations told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

"We hope that a final agreement will be achieved with our Indian partners during upcoming talks in August to allocate an extra $1.2 billion to repair and modernize the aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov," the source said.

The Indian defense minister's aide Pallam Raji has said the Indian authorities are ready to consider Russia's proposal to raise the price of the deal, he said.

"We are satisfied that the most problematic issue of Russian-Indian military technological cooperation will be resolved finally. We will be able to finish all ship-related efforts and to hand it over to the customer in 2012 according to schedule," the source said.

The contract was signed in 2004 and was initially estimated at $1.5 billion, he said. One half of this sum was intended to fund the ship's repair and modernization, and the second half to purchase an aircraft group including 16 ship-based jet fighters (12 MiG-29 K and four MiG-29KUB planes).

However, Russia told India at the end of 2007 that it needed $1.2 billion more to finish this project.

After several rounds of difficult talks, India announced that it was ready to provide an additional $500 million-$600 million, but Russia was not satisfied with the proposed amount.

"So far, the issue of the contract's additional funding remains unresolved," the source said.

The Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier was built at a shipyard in Mykolaiv (Ukraine) on December 26, 1978. In December 1987 the ship was handed over to the Soviet Navy. Until 1991 it was called Baku. Its displacement is 44,570 tonnes, length - 273 meters, width - 49 meters, draft - 10.2 meters, speed - 30.7 knots. The crew, including deck aircraft pilots, consisted of 1,950 people.

On February 3, 1992, the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier was docked for repairs at the SRZ-35 shipyard in Rost, Murmansk, and has never set sail since then.

In January 2004, the ship was sold to India and on March 5, 2004, the cruiser was withdrawn from service in the Russian Navy. The current name of the aircraft carrier is Vikramaditya.

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