The Indian Navy has just found out that Goans don’t like their fun to be interrupted. The thunder-like sonic boom produced by the new MiG-29K fighter planes appears to have shattered their serene existence.
Flustered by a series of “deafening explosions” in the skies ever since the MiG-29Ks landed in Goa naval airbase last December, the Digambar Kamat government scurried to the navy to figure out what catastrophe had hit this tropical paradise.
Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said, “The sonic boom produced by the fighters during pre-induction training triggered concerns here. Folks had never heard a sonic boom. We will follow a new training pattern to reduce their anxiety.”
A sonic boom is produced when a fighter aircraft breaks the sound barrier, flying at around 1,225 kilometres per hour (Mach 1). Verma said the navy would follow the IAF model and carry out training only in specified zones.
Navy’s Sea Harriers are subsonic fighter jets. The Harriers never broke the sound barrier, the Goans never complained.
But so horror-struck are the folks here that Defence Minister A K Antony had to apologise on the navy’s behalf for causing inconvenience. He said the navy would inform the state before carrying out any maneouvres.
Captain Surendra Ahuja, the boss of INS Hansa, home to the MiG-29K Black Panthers’s squadron said: “ Training will now be carried out 20-25 nautical miles away from the coast. Goans needn’t bother about the sonic boom, but the fishermen may have to get used to it.”