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Facility put in place to maintain MiG-29 K

A file photo of MiG- 29K

PANAJI (PTI): Ahead of MiG-29 K's arrival in India, the facility to maintain and train the pilots for this front line fighter aircraft was inaugurated at INS Hansa naval base in Goa.

The first phase of the facility was formally inaugurated by Vice Admiral J J Bedi, commander-in-chief, Western Naval command.

"I think this is the first time in my service career of 40 years that I witness construction and availability of major infrastructure project prior to the induction of hardware in the Indian Navy," Bedi said.

The Indian team consisting of pilots and maintenance staff are already in Russia doing their training and first batch of four aircraft should be available with us by middle of this year, he said.

Bedi said that these front line aircraft which will embark on INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier which will be ready to serve India in next two years, are MiG variant of 29 which is meant to fly from an aircraft carrier.

"Total 16 aircraft are contracted for, of which 12 are the strike aircraft and four are trainers. They will be based at INS Hansa and will embark the aircraft carrier whenever it will be available," he said.

The Indian Navy expects to have all the 16 aircraft by middle of next year.

"It has better endurance, better radar and the under carriage has been strengthened in order to land on the deck," the vice admiral said.

The MiG-29K was started in 1984 as a Russian Air Force development programme for a multi-role fighter aircraft. The MiG-29K differed from the MiG-29 production model, featuring a new multi-function radar, dubbed Zhuk; a cabin with monochrome display and use of the HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) principle; the RVV-AE air-to-air active homing missiles; anti-ship and anti-radar missiles; as well as air-to-ground precision-guided weapons. The MiG-29K program was revived in response to the decision of the Indian Navy to acquire the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier.

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