The Indian Navy (IN) has started the construction work of a new Dry Dock is at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. The work of the dry dock is expected to get over by this year end in order to accommodate and anchor the arrival of INS Vikramaditya (Sanskrit: Vikramaditya, "Brave as the Sun") in 2013. It is the new name for the former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which has been procured by India, and is estimated to enter service in the IN.
A defence official said that the construction necessitates underwater rock blasting, which is expected to continue, with some intervals, for a few months to facilitate removal of obstruction. The operation is being undertaken, with all statutory approvals, including that of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), Navi Mumbai.
"The blasts are being carried out in a controlled manner to ensure total safety in the vicinity. The blast intensity is controlled well below specified safety norms to avoid any damage to ships and marine structures and is being closely monitored by experts. Despite being of negligible intensity, mild shock waves / vibrations of non-damage causing nature may be expected to be felt in the adjoining areas," said the official.
The official said that the announced delivery date for INS Vikramaditya was August 2008, which would allow the carrier to enter service just as the IN's only light carrier INS Viraat retires. The INS Viraat's retirement has been pushed out to 2010-2012. However, ongoing delays with the Vikramaditya's delivery schedule, pushing the delivery to 2013, could mean that even this postponement of the Viraat's retirement may not come soon enough. As a result, the IN may find itself without an aircraft carrier for the first time since the 1960s. The indigenous Vikrant-class aircraft carrier has been delayed by at least a year and may be commissioned at the earliest in 2013 from the proposed 2012.