The sophisticated Russian-made MiG-29K maritime fighter aircraft, which will be based on under-construction aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, were on Friday formally inducted into the Navy by Defence Minister AK Antony.
Four MiG 29Ks of the 'Black Panthers' squadron were inducted at a ceremony that was also attended by Navy chief
Admiral Nirmal Verma.
India had placed orders for 16 MiG-29K in 2004 along with Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier from Russia, four of which landed in India on December 4 last year.
"After induction, the fighter jets would be operated for around two years from the under-development shore-based
testing facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa till the actual delivery of Gorshkov, rechristened as INS Vikramaditya, slated for
2012," a senior naval officer said.
He said pilots will have to undergo training at the Intensive Flying and Testing Unit and a syllabus has been
evolved for all future pilots, who would fly the aircraft.
For operating the fleet of MiG 29Ks, India had sent 10 pilots for training to Russia and also to the US for deck
landing training and on board a French aircraft carrier for operations training, he said.
India has only one aircraft carrier INS Virat but the MiG 29Ks can't be operated from it as they are too big to take off or land at the around 28,000-tonne warship.