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Navy personnel begin training on Admiral Gorshkov

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NEW DELHI (PTI): With the Navy set to induct aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov by next year, the first batch of Navy personnel have begun training on the refurbished vessel in St. Petersburg, Russia.

"The first group of 152 sailors and officers have started their training on-board INS Vikramaditya in Russia.

The training comprises four months of theory and almost a similar period of practical exercises on the ship," naval spokesperson told PTI here Thursday.

The group comprises sailors and officers from technical branches of the Navy who will train on the Gorshkov christened as INS Vikramaditya. The ship will have a total crew of 1400 people.

"The training is being conducted by Russian trainers and instructors. More such batches from different branches of naval operations will undergo similar period of training in the coming months," the officer said.

He said the training would be over "well in time" to ensure scheduled induction of the carrier in the Navy by 2012.

The Navy has already inducted the MiG-29K carrier borne fighter aircraft at its airbase in Goa and has plans to induct 45 of them.

It is also in the process of creating a Shore-Based Test Facility (SBTF) there on which the pilots will take off and land to simulate flying operations at sea.

The deal to purchase the 45,000 tonne Kiev class carrier was signed between India and Russia in 2004 at USD 974 million along with 16 MiG-29K naval fighters for USD 526 million.

However, the original delivery schedule of December 2008 went for a toss after the shipyard made a huge claim of an additional USD 1.5 billion for the refit project and went slow on the work in 2007 and hiked it again to USD 2.7 billion in 2009.

Last year, the two sides resolved the issue after long negotiations and settled on a final price of USD 2.3 billion for the warship.

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