Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Indian Pilots being made air-ready for INS Vikramaditya

The defence ministry has begun the process of getting Indian fighter pilots ready to operate from aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is expected to be inducted into the Indian Navy in the next two years, an official said Monday.

The chairman of the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Vineet Bakshi, said the defence ministry-certified shipyard was in the process of setting up a shore-based testing facility (SBTF) for future pilots in Goa, in partnership with the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

"This unique test facility is being set up with technology and specialised equipment from Russia. This facility will enable future pilots to be trained ashore before they fly the war planes from aircraft carrier Vikramaditya," Bakshi, a former rear admiral said.

He said pilots flying the MIG-29 fighters would also be trained at the facility being built at the naval base INS Hansa in Goa.

The navy veteran further said that the SBTF would also enable Indian Navy's indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) "to reach its logical operational capabilities".

INS Vikramaditya is the re-christened former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which has been procured by India recently and is a modified Type 1143 Kiev class aircraft carrier built in 1978-1982 in Ukraine.

It is projected to replace India's only currently serving aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

Indian Navy's LCA will replace the ageing fleet of Sea Harriers which are being currently operated by the maritime force.

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