Night landing on INS VIKRANT by MiG-29 K done without hitch
In February this year, Indian Navy’s MiG-29K and a prototype of the Naval variant of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas jets had conducted day landings on the aircraft carrier.
Now going ahead, for the first time, the MiG-29K fighter aircraft undertook night landing on indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, a feat described by the Indian Navy as a “historic milestone”. The Navy said the “challenging” night landing trial demonstrated the resolve, skill and professionalism of the crew of the INS Vikrant and the naval pilots.
The above milestone was achieved on Wednesday night when the ship was sailing in the Arabian Sea, officials said.
“The Indian Navy achieves another historic milestone by undertaking the maiden night landing of MiG-29K on INS Vikrant. This is indicative of the Navy’s impetus towards Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance),” Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
“This challenging night landing trial also demonstrates the resolve, skill and professionalism of the Vikrant crew and the Naval pilots,” he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Indian Navy for the successful maiden night landing trials of MiG-29K on INS Vikrant.
“Congratulations to the Indian Navy for successfully undertaking the maiden night landing trials of MiG-29K on #INSVikrant,” Singh said on Twitter.
“This remarkable achievement is a testimony to the skills, perseverance and professionalism of the Vikrant crew and Naval pilots. Kudos to them,” he tweeted.
In September last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had commissioned India’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant that made the country part of an elite group of nations capable of manufacturing aircraft carriers above 40,000 tonnes category. The aircraft carrier would be able to play a role in ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Built at a cost of around Rs 23,000 crore, INS Vikrant has a sophisticated air defence network and anti-ship missile systems. The ship is 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and it has a height of 59 metres. The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
It has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. It has the capacity to hold 30 fighter jets and helicopters.
As part of the Air component, INS Vikrant should be operating with around 12 x MiG 29 K fighters and several helicopters / UAVs of various types. The 26 x naval Rafales are not likely to start arriving before 2027 and the TEDB not before 2032. At that time hopefully we will be having INS Virat too joining the Navy as the second indigenous aircraft Carrier. Also a 80000 ton INS Vishal in very advance stage of construction.
Therefore meanwhile MoD, Navy and HAL together must strive to provide 24 to 32 naval versions of Tejas Mk1 at the earliest to fully equip the two existing aircraft carriers and even the third carrier when it gets commissioned. Thereafter TEDB can take over from the retiring MiG 29Ks.