Like a lot of countries, India wants the best weapons it can afford. But ideological and financial concerns mean there are a lot of things it won’t buy from the United States or Europe. That pretty much leaves, well, Russia.

像许多国家一样,印度想要得到它能负担得起的最好的武器。但出于意识形态和财政方面的考虑,他们有很多东西不会从美国或欧洲购买。那就只剩下俄罗斯了。

India has been a big buyer of Russian weapons for 50 years. Those haven’t been easy years for New Delhi. India’s defense contracts with Russia have consistently suffered delays and cost overruns. And the resulting hardware doesn’t always work.

50年来,印度一直是俄罗斯武器的大买家。对新德里来说,这些买卖并不容易。印度与俄罗斯的防务合同一直遭遇延期和成本超支。而最终的硬件并非总是能工作。

Of all India’s Russian procurement woes, none speak more to the dysfunctional relationship between the two countries than the saga of INS Vikramaditya. In the early 2000s, India went shopping for a new aircraft carrier. What followed was a military-industrial nightmare.

在印度与俄罗斯的采购问题中,维克拉玛蒂亚号航母事件最能说明两国关系的失调。21世纪初,印度前往俄罗斯求购一艘崭新的航空母舰。随之而来的是一场军工噩梦。

In 1988, the Soviet unx commissioned the aircraft carrier Baku. She and her four sisters of the Kiev class represented a unique Soviet design. The front third resembled a heavy cruiser, with 12 giant SS-N-12 anti-ship missiles, up to 192 surface-to-air missiles and two 100-millimeter deck guns. The remaining two-thirds of the ship was basically an aircraft carrier, with an angled flight deck and a hangar.

1988年,苏联“巴库”号航空母舰服役。她和同样出自基辅级的四个姊妹舰代表了一种独特的苏联设计。该舰前段的三分之一似于重型巡洋舰,拥有12枚巨型SS-N-12反舰导弹,多达192枚地对空导弹和两门100毫米甲板炮。而剩下的三分之二基本上是航空母舰,有一个倾斜的飞行甲板和一个机库。

Baku briefly served in the Soviet navy until the USSR dissolved in 1991. Russia inherited the vessel, renamed her Admiral Gorshkov and kept her on the rolls of the new Russian navy until 1996. After a boiler room explosion, likely due to a lack of maintenance, Admiral Gorshkov went into mothballs.

巴库曾在苏联海军短暂服役,直到1991年苏联解体。俄罗斯继承了这艘军舰,并将其改名为戈尔什科夫海军上将号。她在新的俄罗斯海军服役到1996年。锅炉房爆炸后,可能是由于缺乏维护,戈尔什科夫上将陷入了封存状态。

In the early 2000s, India faced a dilemma. The Indian navy’s only carrier INS Viraat was set to retire in 2007. Carriers help India assert influence over the Indian Ocean—not to mention, they’re status symbols. New Delhi needed to replace Viraat, and fast.

21世纪初,印度面临着困境。印度海军唯一的航母“维拉特”号定于2007年退役。航母有助于印度在印度洋上发挥影响力,更不用说,它们还是地位的象征。所以新德里需要尽快换掉维拉特号。

India’s options were limited. The only countries building carriers at the time—the United States, France and Italy—were building ships too big for India’s checkbook. In 2004, India and Russia struck a deal in which India would receive Admiral Gorshkov. The ship herself would be free, but India would pay $974 million dollars to Russia to upgrade her.

印度的选择有限。当时建造航母的国家只有美国、法国和意大利,这些国家建造的航母对印度的钱包来说太大了。2004年,印度和俄罗斯达成协议,印度将接收戈尔什科夫上将号。这艘军舰本身是免费的,但印度将支付9.74亿美元给俄罗斯用于该舰的升级。


Russia would transform the vessel from a helicopter carrier with a partial flight deck to an aircraft carrier with a launch ramp and a flight deck just over 900 feet long. She would be capable of supporting 24 MiG-29K fighters and up to 10 Kamov helicopters.

俄罗斯将把这艘航母从一艘有部分飞行甲板的直升机航母改造为一艘有起飞坡道和飞行甲板超过900英尺长的航空母舰。她将能够支持24架米格-29k战斗机和多达10架卡莫夫直升机。

She would have new radars, new boilers for propulsion, new arrester wires for catching landing aircraft and new deck elevators. All 2,700 rooms and compartments—spread out over 22 decks—would be refurbished and new wiring would be laid throughout the ship. The “new” carrier would be named Vikramaditya, after an ancient Indian king.

她将拥有新的雷达、新的推进锅炉、新的用于拦住着陆飞机的阻拦索和新的甲板升降机。分布在22层甲板上的全部2700个房间和隔间将被翻新,并在整艘船上铺设新的线路。这艘“新”航母将以古印度国王的名字命名,即维克拉玛蒂亚号。

A real aircraft carrier for less than a billion dollars sounds almost too good to be true. And it was.

一艘真正的航空母舰花费不到10亿美元,听起来好得令人难以置信。但这是当时的想法。

In 2007, just a year before delivery, it became clear that Russia’s Sevmash shipyard couldn’t meet the ambitious deadline. Even worse, the yard demanded more than twice as much money—$2.9 billion in total—to complete the job.

2007年,就在交付前一年,俄罗斯的Sevmash船厂显然无法满足这一雄心勃勃的交货期。更糟糕的是,这个造船厂需要花费两倍多的钱——总共29亿美元——才能完成这项工作。

The cost of sea trials alone, originally $27 million, ballooned to a fantastic $550 million.

仅海上试航的成本就从最初的2700万美元飙升到惊人的5.5亿美元。




‘There will be grave consequences’

“后果很严重”

By 2009, the project was deadlocked and word was starting to get around the defense industry. Russian arms exports for 2009 totaled $8 billion, and Sevmash’s delays and extortionary tactics weren’t good for the Russian defense industry as a whole.

到2009年,这个项目陷入了僵局,有关这个项目的消息开始在国防领域传开。俄罗斯2009年的武器出口总额为80亿美元,Sevmash的拖延和勒索战术对俄罗斯国防工业整体不利。

In July 2009, Russia’s then-president Dmitri Medvedev made a high-profile visit to the Sevmash shipyard. Indian news reported that the carrier was still half-done, meaning that the yard had done virtually no work on the ship for two years as it held out for more money.

2009年7月,俄罗斯时任总统梅德韦杰夫高调访问了Sevmash造船厂。据《印度新闻》报道,这艘航母还未完工一半,这意味着造船厂已经两年没有在航母上做任何工作,因为航母一直在等待更多的资金。

Medvedev publicly scolded Sevmash officials. “You need to complete [Vikramaditya] and hand it over our partners,” the visibly irritated president told Sevmash general director Nikolai Kalistratov.

梅德韦杰夫公开斥责了7名官员。“你们需要完成维克拉玛蒂亚,然后把它交给我们的合作伙伴,”这位总统带着可见的怒意对Sevmash总经理Nikolai Kalistratov说。




Enduring woes

持久的困境

Now that Vikramaditya is finally in service, India’s problems are over, right? Not by a long shot. Incredibly, India has chosen Sevmash to do out-of-warranty work on the ship for the next 20 years.

既然维克拉玛蒂亚号终于服役了,印度的问题就解决了,对吧?绝对不是。令人难以置信的是,印度选择Sevmash船厂负责之后的20年的保修期外的工作。

Keeping Vikramaditya supplied with spare parts will be a major task in itself. Ten Indian contractors helped to build the carrier, but so did more than 200 other contractors in Russia, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the U.K. Some countries, particularly Japan, were likely unaware they were exporting parts for a foreign weapons system.

保持维克拉玛蒂亚的备件供应本身就是一项间距的任务。10家印度承包商帮助建造了这艘航母,但俄罗斯、克罗地亚、丹麦、德国、意大利、日本、芬兰、法国、挪威、波兰、瑞典和英国的200多家承包商也参与了建造。一些国家,尤其是日本,可能不知道自己在为外国武器系统出口零部件。


China denied ever exporting the firebricks.

而中国否认出口过这种耐火砖。

Finally, Vikramaditya lacks active air defenses. The ship has chaff and flare systems to lure away anti-ship missiles, but she doesn’t have any close-in weapons systems like the American Phalanx.

最后,维克拉玛蒂亚号还缺乏主动的空中防御系统。该舰装备了箔条和曳光弹系统来引诱反舰导弹,但她没有任何像美国密集阵那样的近距离武器系统。

India could install local versions of the Russian AK-630 gun system, but missiles will have to wait until the ship is in drydock again—and that could be up to three years from now. In the meantime, Vikramaditya will have to rely on the new Indian air-defense destroyer INS Kolkata for protection from aircraft and missiles.

印度可以安装国产版本的俄罗斯AK-630火炮系统,但其导弹将不得不等到该舰再次进入船坞——这可能需要三年时间。与此同时,维克拉玛蒂蒂亚将不得不依赖新的印度防空驱逐舰“加尔各答号”来抵御飞机和导弹的攻击。