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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Indian Navy squadron to complete induction of MiG-29Ks by mid-2012

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Sept 3, IRNA -- Indian Navy's `Black Panthers', a squadron of MiG-29K aircraft, will complete induction of the Russia-made fighter jets by mid-2012, officials said today.

The delivery of first batch of 16 aircraft is likely to be completed this month, Commander B Hota, Commander-in-Chief of the squadron, told pti at Panaji. 'The second lot of 29 aircraft will arrive at a later date,' he added.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a press conference organised to announce golden jubilee celebrations of Naval base `INS Hansa', located at Vasco, about 40km from here, Hota said Black Panthers would be renamed Squadron 303.

MiG-29Ks based at INS Hansa are attached to aircraft carrier `INS Vikramaditya', which will be commissioned in the Navy shortly.

MiG-29K is one of the most versatile and formidable carrier-borne fighter aircraft in the world. It is designed to destroy aerial targets, enemy's surface and shore targets, Navy officials said.

Commodore Ravneet Singh, Commanding Officer of INS Hansa, said the state-of-the-art simulator for MiG-29K would be ready within a couple of months.

The Naval base is also being equipped with the ski-jump facility and shore-based test facility (SBTF).

Besides India, only American and Russians are going to have SBTF by the middle of next year, Singh said.

The facility will create an atmosphere which is similar to that on an aircraft carrier and would help the pilots in training.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30546811

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