Gorshkov in September 2007

If Google Earth screen data is to be believed, here's a September 2007 satellite photograph of the Admiral Gorshkov dry-docked at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russia. Looks pretty poorly now! Anyway, here's an occasion to record what's been said about the jinxed warship in the recently tabled 29th Parliamentary Standing Committee report on defence (Demands for Grants). Make what you will of it:

During examination of Demands for Grants for the previous years, the Committee had been informed that after refitting, Admiral Gorshkov would to be procured from Russia by the end of 2008. The original cost of Admiral Gorshkov was Rs.4,882 crore. It has been stated that Russian side has reportedly indicated revision in time and cost due to 'Growth of Work' and that the matter is being examined. Regarding the present status of procurement of Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov and the induction plan of Admiral Gorshkov, the Ministry of Defence in a written reply have stated:

"The proposals submitted by the Russian side are being examined. The process of examination of the scope and necessity for additional works has since been initiated. Proposed delivery schedule indicated by the Russian side for Ex-Admiral Gorshkov is 2012. This is being examined."

Regarding reasons for delay in procurement of Admiral Gorshkov from Russia, a representative of the Ministry of Defence, during oral evidence stated:

"Sir, I will just explain this. When we had signed the contract in the year 2004, it was based on a certain scope of work which we could arrive at. This is a big ship, 45,000 tonnes. Actually, when the work started, the Shipyard brought out various aspects of works which had not been costed earlier. This is something which is being discussed from the Russian side. Basically, it is about ship repair and equipment and not ammunition. It is in three different categories. One is the basic repair and re-equipping. There were a large number of equipment which was just meant to be repaired. Some of the repair equipment is now being converted to buying a new one and replacing. So, part of that cost is there."

Admiral Gorshkov has run into time and cost over run due to change in scope of work. The initial cost of the Gorshkov is stated to be Rs. 4,882 crore. The deal appears to have become fait accompli with little scope for effecting economy. The Committee desire the Ministry of Defence which is presently examining the proposed modifications in the deal to complete the task of examination expeditiously under intimation to the Committee. The Committee desire that revised agreement in this regard should have an inbuilt provision for automatic transfer of upgraded technology without the liability of additional royalty payment.

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