Navy to induct four MiG-29Ks at INS Hansa
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 23:36
INS Hansa (Goa): As part of strengthening its air wing, Indian Navy will induct its Russia-made MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft for deployment at its air base INS Hansa here on Friday.

"Four MiG 29Ks of the 'Black Panthers' squadron will be inducted during a ceremony tomorrow, which will be attended by Defence Minister A K Antony and Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma," INS Hansa Commanding officer Captain Surendra Ahuja said here.

India had placed orders for 16 MiG-29K in 2004 along with Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier from Russia, four of which landed in India on December 4 last year.

"After induction, the fighter jets would be operated for around two years from the under-construction shore-based testing facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa till the actual delivery of Gorshkov, rechristened as INS Vikramaditya, slated for 2012," Ahuja added.

He said pilots will have to undergo training at the Intensive Flying and Testing Unit and a syllabus has been evolved for all future pilots, who would fly the aircraft.

For operating the fleet of MiG 29Ks, India had sent 10 pilots for training to Russia and also to the US for deck landing training and on board a French aircraft carrier for operations training, Ahuja said.

India has only one aircraft carrier INS Virat but the MiG 29Ks can't be operated from it as they are too big to take off or land at the around 28,000-tonne warship.

Ahuja said more pilots will go to Russia four-and-half months before the Gorshkov is inducted into the Indian navy and train for arrested landing and take-off from the aircraft carrier itself and till then train on the new SBTF and the simulator facility coming up at the air base.

During the induction ceremony tomorrow, navy will carry out a fly past of its various aircraft including Sea Harriers, IL-38, Dorniers and Chetak helicopters along with the MiG 29K itself.

Of the 16 jets ordered from Russia, the naval officer said 12 are single-seater fighters and the rest four are MiG-29KUB twin-seater trainers and there was a likelihood of signing an agreement with Russia for 29 more MiG 29Ks.

"Of the remaining 12 aircraft, two have arrived in India but they are not yet accepted for induction and the rest will come in different batches in future," Ahuja said.

He added that three hangers have been constructed to house the 16 MiG 29Ks at the base.

Comparing the MiG 29K with the MiG 29Bs of the air force, Commanding Officer of the Black Panther's squadron Commander A D Theophilis said the maritime aircraft were more capable than their IAF counterparts as they were packed with "more advanced avionics, better multi radars and capability of operating in all weather conditions both in day and night.

On the Sea Harriers, Ahuja said the Navy had 11 of these aircraft and all of them are in flying condition.


First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 23:36

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