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INS Viraat upgrade

Mumbai, Nov. 30: INS Viraat, the country’s only aircraft carrier, will be upgraded to last till Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov arrives in late 2009 or early 2010.

The decision has been prompted by a two-year delay in Gorshkov’s delivery, said Vice-Admiral Jagat Singh Bedi, the commanding-in-chief of the Western Naval Command.

“Its (Viraat’s) machinery will be strengthened. It will be given a normal refit to last till Admiral Gorshkov arrives by the end of 2009 or early 2010,” he added.

Bedi, speaking aboard the 55-year-old carrier, said the delay in getting Gorshkov would not hamper the navy’s strategic planning but added that he “would have been happy” to have her on Indian shores on schedule.

Thirty-three ships are in various stages of production at the Goa shipyard, Garden Reach Shipbuilders in Calcutta and the Cochin shipyard.

Six submarines are being built by at the Mazgaon docks in Mumbai.

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