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Gorshkov to be fully operational within six months of its arrival Featured

  • Friday, Nov 01 2013

Even as a batch of highly skilled pilots leaves for Russia this week for the next phase of training, Indian Navy has fully geared itself to make the new Carrier Battle Group, led by Admiral Gorshkov, operational within six months of taking the delivery of the much awaited aircraft carrier on November 16.

“We are fully confident and more than ready to make the largest platform of our fleet operational within six months of the ship’s arrival and all the arrangements are being put in place to achieve the objective,”  an upbeat Navy official said, while confirming that a batch of 10 pilots will leave for Russia this week for simulator and SBT (Shore Based Training) operations. The exercises are second phase of their training before they undergo the final phase of deck flying when the ship will reach India. These pilots completed the first phase back home and some of them also visited the US for gaining advance skills, the official said.

Five hundred sorties have been completed from the deck of Admiral Gorshkov, which has undergone vigorous sea trials for more than 100 days, closely watched by a team of highly qualified Indian Navy officials, who have been reviewing every aspect of the delivery acceptance trials in White and Barrents Seas.

Eighty percent of 1608 naval personnel, including more than 100 officers, who will be deployed on INS Vikramadiya, have already reached Russia to take control of the ship. It will be handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15 with the formal commissioning slated on November 16 in presence of the Defence Minister A. K. Antony and the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D. K. Joshi in Sevmash Shipyard of Russia, where the ship is being given final touches for the D-day.

The pilots, with full component of MIG 29 K fighters, were also taken to Eastern Seaboard for intensive flying after the formal raising of the first squadron IN 303 on the occasion of golden jubilee of Aviation Arm of the Indian Navy on May 13 this year in Goa.

Fighter flying is the most critical part of making the carrier battle group fully operational, said the official, adding the one year extra delay in the delivery provided an ample opportunity to the Navy to prepare itself for the new induction.

 

All the sixteen MIG 29 K aircraft contracted in original agreement and five of the 29 aircraft of follow on order have arrived in India and are undergoing intensive flying from the Shore Based Training strip of INS Hansa in Goa.

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