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Originally posted by Stealth Spy
69th passing out parade
India will soon join the select band of three countries making heavy aircraft carriers when Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee launches construction work on the 37,500 tonne displacement indigenous carrier at Kochi on April 11.
The carrier, designed to operate a mix of Russian Mig-29K - naval version of the light combat aircraft, sea harriers, advance light helicopters and anti-submarine and maritime reconaissance Kamov-31 helicopters, is expected to be delivered by the Kochi Shipyard by early 2012, Vice Admiral Yashwant Prasad, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, told newsmen here.
So far only United States, France and United Kingdom have the expertise in manufacturing aircraft carriers. The Russian Navy after building two carriers of over 40,000 displacement has stopped manufacturing air defence ships.
One of these carriers Admiral Gorshkov is currently undergoing refit for the Indian Navy and would be delivered by 2008.
The 252 metre-long indigenous carrier is capable of reaching top speeds of 28 knots and would carry 160 officers and 1,400 sailors having two runways with 200 metre-long ski jumps and a landing deck.
Powered by four LM2500 Gas turbines, the carrier would have an endurance of 7,500 nautical miles staying in high seas for over 45 days at a strech. Prasad said the warship would be capable of carrying a maximum of 30 fighters and 17 of them can be accommodated in the hangars.
India will start receiving the first carrier-based MiG-29K multi-role fighters from Russia in 2007, a year ahead of schedule.
The first batch of few MiG-29KUB would be delivered towards the middle of 2007, in time for Indian Navy to train the first batch of its pilots, a top official of Russian Aircraft building Corporation (RSK), the manufacturers of the MiG range of fighters, told PTI.
He said that RSK would deliver Navy's entire order of 16 MiG-29K by 2009. The Russian team is here to finalise the training schedule for the Indian Naval pilots.
While the first batch of naval pilots would be trained in Russia, India is subsequently planning to operate the MiG-29K for training purposes from its shore-based Dabolim airbase in Goa.
Under a Rs 3,256 crore (740 million dollar) deal, signed in January, 2004, Navy is to acquire 12 MiG-29k Single seater combat aircraft and four two-seater MiG-29KUB operational trainers. The deal also includes airborne armaments, maintenance, personnel training, plus the supply of simulators, spare parts and servicing.
The naval version of the MiG-29 is yet to enter service and India would be the launch customer for the multi-role aircraft, which can operate from ski-jump platform. Russian officials said that the fighters would be fully operational by April, 2008, when the Carrier Gorshkov is scheduled to be delivered.
Under the contract, the Navy has an open option of buying another 30 MiG-29K with deliveries upto 2015 for its new 32,000 tonne air defence warship, now being built at Kochi docks, the Russian official said.
The Naval MiG-29k would field an upgraded Zhuk-MF radar and associated systems, which would offer full compatibility with a wide range of Russian as well as Western weapons systems, he said.
He said that Indian and Russian experts were also working out modifications in the multi-role involving moving wing fold inboard to the wing root and folding the tail stabilators to reduce overall stowage space.
This would allow the refurbished Russian carrier to accommodate a full air wing of upto 24 MiG-29ks as well as six Kamov-28 and KA-31 helicopters. The naval fighters would field thrust vectoring engines and the MiG-29k, being acquired by India, would have a range of 2,200 kms.
The aircraft will also feature a fully retractable air-refuelling probe, the official said.