MiG-29K Fighter Jet’s Maiden Night Landing On INS Vikrant
- The navy is also thinking about building a second aircraft carrier that would be made in India. This would show India's power in the seas far away.
- Vikrant is 262 meters long, 61 meters tall (from bottom to mast), and its flight deck is 12,500 square meters, which is about the same size as 10 Olympic-size swimming pools.
An Indian Navy MiG-29K fighter jet arrived on the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier for the first time at night on Wednesday. This is a big step toward the warship and its air wing being fully operational by the end of the year, officials from the navy said on Thursday.
The aircraft ship is in the Arabian Sea right now. It was given to the navy in September of last year, which was a big step toward the country’s goal of making its own defense equipment.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, a spokesman for the navy, said that the difficult night landing trial shows how determined, skilled, and professional the Vikrant crew and naval pilots are. This happened three months after a MiG-29K and a prototype of the naval version of the locally made light combat aircraft (LCA) arrived and took off from the aircraft carrier for the first time during the day in February.
Madhwal also said that the aircraft carrier is going through air certification and flight integration trials with both rotary-wing and fixed-wing planes so that it can be ready for battle as soon as possible.
MiG-29K fighter jets from Russia are being tested in flight on the INS Vikrant. They take off with a ski-jump and land with arrestor wires, which is called STOBAR (short take-off but arrested recovery) in the military.
Twelve MiG-29Ks are expected to be put on Vikrant, and the carrier will use a new deck-based fighter that the navy is looking to buy as a stopgap until the indigenous twin-engine deck-based fighter (TEDBF) is ready in a few years. Officials say that the first TEDBF prototype could take its first flight in 2026 and be ready for mass production by 2031.
The attack planes on the INS Vikramaditya, the navy’s other aircraft carrier, are MiG-29Ks.
As HT noted before, the French Rafale M fighter beat out the American F/A-18 Super Hornet in a direct competition to provide 26 new deck-based fighters for the INS Vikrant.
The Super Hornet is made by Boeing, while the Rafale is made by Dassault Aviation.
In January 2022 and June 2022, respectively, Dassault and Boeing showed the navy what their planes could do at a shore-based test site in Goa. The 26 fighters that the government wants to buy are just a stopgap until the country makes its own TEDBF.
Vikrant will run an air wing with 30 planes, including the new fighters, MiG-29Ks, Kamov-31 choppers, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, and modern light helicopters. 76% of Vikrant is made in India.
Cochin Shipyard spent 20,000 crore to build the 45,000-ton Vikrant. This size of aircraft carrier can only be made in the US, UK, Russia, France, and China. It is called INS Vikrant after the aircraft carrier that the navy ran from 1961 to 1997.
The navy is also thinking about building a second aircraft carrier that would be made in India. This would show India’s power in the seas far away.
The INS Vikramaditya was bought from Russia for $ 2.33 billion because it was used. The navy has been saying that its large area of interest means it needs three of these mobile airfields.
The Indian Navy has used four aircraft carriers: the British-made Vikrant from 1961 to 1997, the British-made INS Viraat from 1987 to 2016, and the Indian-made INS Vikramaditya from 2013 on.
Vikrant is 262 meters long, 61 meters tall (from bottom to mast), and its flight deck is 12,500 square meters, which is about the same size as 10 Olympic-size swimming pools. It can go for 7,500 nautical miles, can go as fast as 28 knots, has 2,300 rooms, and can take 1,600 crew members.