After a ceremonious induction into service, the race has been on to determine who best would operate from INS Vikrant and would be by the Indian Navy‘s requirements.
It appears that the “Black Panthers” – a naval variant of the Russian-built MiG-29, would be the primary fighters of INS Vikrant, the largest ship ever constructed in India. The Indian Air Force has employed the aircraft for a very long time.
35 aircraft can be housed on the INS Vikrant. The largest ship ever built in India, INS Vikrant, will have the Russian-made MiG-29K as its primary weaponry while India is acquiring either the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet or Dassault Rafale M.
The MiG 29K
The MiG-29K will be flown from the INS Vikrant and will be used to attack both the air and the ground.
The MiG-29K is a fighter plane that can fly in any weather and can go faster than twice the speed of sound, or Mach 2. It can pull with up to eight times the force of gravity and fly to more than 65,000 feet in the air.
The MiG-29K can attack targets in the air, on the water, and land, and it can fly long distances to complete important missions because it can refuel in the air.
The MiG-29K squadron is known as INAS 303, also known as the “Black Panthers,” and is headquartered at the INS Hansa in Goa. It was hailed as a “game-changer” since it ushered in a new age of fighter flying in the Indian Navy.
The MiG-29K has sufficient power to perform both “air dominance” and “power projection” simultaneously. This offers a wide range of alternatives to the fleet commander at sea.
|MAXIMUM TAKE-OFF WEIGHT||24,500 kg|
|POWERPLANT||2 × Klimov RD-33MK after-burning engines,|
|MAXIMUM SPEED||2,200 km/h|
|CRUISE SPEED||1,500 km/h|
|COMBAT RANGE||850 km|
|SERVICE CEILING||17,500 m|
|GUNS||1 × 30mm Gryazev-Shipunov GsH-30 -1 autocannon with 150 rounds|
The warship’s airwing will also include Kamov-31 helicopters, American MH-60R multi-role helicopters and Advanced Light Helicopters(ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) from Russia.
The MiG-29K (Korabelny) is a 4.5th-generation aircraft. It differs significantly from the IAF MiG-29B models that are most effective for air-to-air missions.
Russia delivered 45 MiG-29K/KUB fighters to India in two shipments. The second batch of 29 aircraft was dispatched in 2016. The first 16-plane group was dispatched in 2011.
The Defense Ministry planned to spend Rs 7,418 crore, or around $1 billion, in 2020 to purchase 21 MiG-29s and upgrade 59 MiG-29s.
It is a fighter that can do both air-to-air and air-to-ground manoeuvres. India is also attempting to enhance the capabilities of this jet in the interim. For the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K/KUB fighter planes that take off from aircraft carriers, the Navy is testing a new mission computer.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, a state-owned firm, produced the mission computer. The new system is designed to provide the Navy with the choice of using the Soviet-era MiG-29K in conjunction with air-launched weaponry developed in the nation or the West.
The INS Vikrant may not be prepared for combat for another five to six months. Until then, operations will be flown by fighter aircraft, and the battleship will be equipped with surface-to-air Barack missiles. Reportedly, the tests are slated to commence in November and end in May of 2023.
The Dassault Rafale has been favoured by many aviation experts because of the Indian Air Force’s satisfaction with its performance, and the Rafale-M has been dubbed the ideal aircraft for the Navy. However, it has not yet been decided which fighters would replace the MiG-29K.