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Navy’s facility hones skills of aircraft carrier pilots


Dabolim (Goa), June 13 (IANS) It’s a one-of-its-kind facility in Asia and is being used for training of pilots for landing on India’s largest aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.

The Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa naval air station here, 30 km from Goa capital Panaji, currently meant for training pilots for the MiG-29K combat jet that is embarked on INS Vikramaditya, is also set to be used for training pilots of the Indian Navy’s version of the indegenous light combat aircraft (LCA) .

The facility, built with Russian help, replicates landing and taking off features of INS Vikramaditya.

The facility, complete with a take-off and landing area and telemetry building, allows pilots to hone their skills in short take-offs and short landing needed in the latest aircraft carrier of the navy.

INS Vikramaditya is STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) carrier and has the MiG 29K aircraft as the main offensive weapon on the warship.

The facility, completed earlier this year, allows pilots to train in bringing the combat aircraft descending from a about 240 km per hour to zero in less than two seconds. It also allows them to reach speeds of 200 km per hour during take off using a ski jump.

The project was managed by Aeronautical Development Agency and built by various agencies, including Goa Shipyard Limited, under the supervision of specialists from Russia.

"It is only the third such facility in the world and the only one-of-its-kind in Asia," an official told IANS.

The navy LCA is India’s first indigenous effort to build a carrier-borne fighter aircraft.

The MiG 29K provides a quantum jump to the Indian Navy’s maritime strike capabilities as it can carry an array of weapons, including anti-ship missiles, beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets.

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