This free-to-view DID Spotlight article offers an in-depth look at India’s troubled attempt to convert and field a full-size aircraft carrier, before time and wear force it to retire its existing naval aviation and ships.
India faced 2 major challenges. One was slipping timelines, which risked leaving them with no aircraft carriers at all. The other challenge involved Vikramaditya’s 3-fold cost increase, as Russia demanded a re-negotiated contract once India was deeper into the commitment trap. The carrier purchase has now become the subject of high level diplomacy, involving a shipyard that can’t even execute on commercial contracts. A revised deal was finally signed in March 2010, even as deliveries of India’s new MiG-29K naval fighters got underway – but now Russia still has to make good. This article tracks the changes India is making to its new aircraft carrier, key characteristics, and a full history of contracts and events affecting this carrier and its planned aircraft contingent.