Russia to hand over aircraft carrier to India by Nov.: report

India's second aircraft carrier, an upgraded and retrofitted former Soviet navy vessel, will be handed over to the Indian navy by Russia by November, local media reported Tuesday.

NDTV news station quoted sources as saying aviation trials on the INS Vikramaditya, including takeoffs and landings by MiG-29K fighter aircraft, were successfully completed in Russia earlier in the day.

It also underwent a full power trial, entailing pushing the ship to maximum speed at sea and then testing all systems for accuracy and endurance.

The 45,550-ton vessel, formerly known as Admiral Gorshkov, was to have joined the Indian Navy last year, but the insulation tiles of its boilers cracked during full power trials.

Since then, the Kiev-class carrier, India's second aircraft carrier after the Centaur-class INS Viraat, has undergone stringent testing in the Barents Sea and the White Sea.

The Hindu, an English language newspaper, reported on Sept. 5 that the INS Vikramaditya will be handed over to the Indian Navy on Nov. 15 at a formal ceremony in the Russian northern seaport of Severodvinsk on the White Sea, citing sources.

India and Russia signed a $2.3-billion contract for refitting the aircraft carrier in 2004.

Last August, India launched its first indigenously developed aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which it plans to commission in 2018 following sea trials. Defense Minister A.K. Antony said then that the carrier will play a crucial role in projecting India's maritime prowess, especially at a time when China is expanding its naval presence in the Indian Ocean.