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Force Magazine

Fleet Airpower

The Indian Navy is acquiring a broad range of capabilities for its naval air arm

By Atul Chandra

Indian naval aviation is now in a period of transition as its squadrons work up brand new platforms like the MiG-29K carrier-borne strike fighter and Boeing P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft. Both platforms combine potent and powerful sensors with a range of weapons alongwith high endurance for missions over sea.

The Indian Navy (IN) is now also moving closer towards the acquisition of modern helicopters that will be carried aboard increasingly impressive indigenously built warships. Also to be acquired in the near future are additional maritime patrol aircraft and in the longer term the LCA Navy. At present Indian Naval Aviation operates fleet of predominantly Russian, British and American made platforms along with license produced platforms produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The only indigenously built types currently in service are the Kiran jet trainer and Dhruv helicopter.

The main fixed wing combat types are new MiG-29K multi-role fighters and a handful of ageing though upgraded Sea Harrier jump jets. Long range maritime surveillance duties are undertaken by new Boeing P-8I aircraft, the sixth of eight on order was delivered last month. Ageing Cold War era platforms in the IL-38 SD and Tu-142M, make up the rest of the maritime surveillance fleet along with HAL-built Dornier Do-228 aircraft.

The Indian Navy operates a large fleet of helicopters across the British Westland Sea King Mk42B and C, Russian Kamov Ka-28 and Ka-31, American UH-3H and HAL built Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. Training tasks are undertaken on HAL Hindustan Jet Trainer (HJT-16) Kiran’s and Hawk Mk-132 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT). The IN inducted its first four Hawk Mk-132 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Dega last year. HAL has delivered at least nine of the 17 AJTs on order and supported the Indian Navy during the Initial Operational phase of Hawk AJT. The license-built Hawk simulators for ground-based training of Indian Navy personnel are under advanced stage of completion.

MiG 29K squadron at INS Hansa, Goa
MiG 29K squadron at INS Hansa, Goa

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