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
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
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.