Source : Republic
Indian Navy Chief Assesses MIG-29k Operational Readiness With INS Chennai & Vikramaditya
Admiral R. Hari Kumar, CNS, undertook a comprehensive operational and administrative review, commencing with an assessment of the MiG-29K squadron’s operational prowess in Goa on August 25. The Navy Chief also received an operational briefing on INS Chennai at sea and on India’s biggest ship, the Vikramaditya, often referred to as the floating city. According to the Indian Navy, this represents ‘a testament to their ‘Ships, Submarines & Aircraft First approach.’
Among the highlights of the video was the Mig-29K. As shown, these are the Fulcrums from the Indian Navy’s White Tiger Squadron (INAS 300). The squadron itself is the longest-serving fighter squadron of the Indian Navy, completing over 62 years in action.
Inspection of MiG-29K armaments and capabilities
During the visit to the airbase in Goa, Admiral Kumar was briefed about the operational capabilities of the squadron. Interesting scenes from the briefing room feature a poster of the MiG-29 along with the Vikramaditya, with which they have ‘seamlessly integrated’, as per Admiral RK Dhowan, Former Chief of Naval Staff. The video also includes a visit to the hangar and an inspection of the current armaments of the MiG-29, featuring a 30mm Gryazev/Shipunov GSh-301 single-barrel gun.
Adm R Hari Kumar #CNS undertook a comprehensive ops & admin review, starting with assessment of #MiG29K squadron’s operational prowess at Goa, Ops briefing onboard #INSChennai at sea & #INSVikramaditya.
A testament to ‘Ships, Submarines & Aircraft First’ approach.#ShipsFirst pic.twitter.com/X6gPipHfrd
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) August 26, 2023
While the MiG-29K is equipped with a relatively advanced avionic suite, cruise missiles, BVR missiles, and other close combat missiles, as well as various other components embedded within its fuselage, the video features only the Fulcrum’s cannon. The new insignia was also on display in the video.
ALH Dhruv and INS Chennai
Following the visit to the White Tigers, an older maritime variant of the ALH Dhruv was seen landing on INS Chennai’s hangar, followed by an operational briefing and interaction of the Navy Chief with the ship’s crew. All this took place while INS Chennai remained actively on duty at sea. The RBU-6000 anti-submarine rockets looked impressive, but the sight of a MSA Gallet Helmet mounted display on an ALH pilot, with the chopper in the backdrop, stole the show. The Navy Chief also visited INS Vikramaditya.
Regarding the Fulcrums, the MiG-29K is the only aircraft operational on both of the Indian aircraft carriers. However, due to quality concerns, India aims to replace them with its new Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter program. Additionally, the Nation’s Defence Acquisition Council has intended to procure 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets, a plan that Dassault Aviation has acknowledged.
From 2010 to 2023, the MiG-29K, along with their pilots, has garnered praise from higher officials for their professionalism. Earlier this year, when the MiG-29K performed its maiden night trial onboard INS Vikrant, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “This remarkable achievement is a testimony to the skills, perseverance, and professionalism of the Vikrant crew and Naval pilots.” Similarly , during the first integration of these aircraft with INS Vikramaditya, as per an Indian Navy press release back in 2010, Admiral RK Dhowan lauded the stellar role played by the squadron in the defence of the country and acknowledged the professionalism of the pilots.
The White Tigers inducted its Mig29Ks into this squadron back in 2016. Upon their induction, they flanked the cousins, the Harriers of the Indian Navy, ‘washing them down,’ and became part of the Indian Navy’s air wing as its newest ‘swing role fighter air dominance fighter,’ thereby enhancing the squadron’s combat power and offensive capability.Upon the induction of the MiG-29K to this ‘elite’ squadron, the Indian Navy stated, “For the versatile White Tigers, this resurrection also marks a full cycle from commissioning ‘Tail Hooking SeaHawks’ to the ‘Vectored Thrust’ Sea Harrier era; and now with the induction of the MiG-29K to this elite squadron, marks the return of the ‘Tail Hookers’.”