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Indian Navy pilots to train in Russia for Gorshkov ops

India has ordered 45 MiG-29K/KUB naval fighters for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier. A MiG-29KUB fighter takes off from carrier flight deck. A MiG photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Preparing to induct Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, the Indian Navy has sent a batch of ten pilots to Russia for training to land and take-off fighter aircraft from the 44,500 tonne warship.

The Navy is going to induct Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, now rechristened INS Vikramaditya, on November 16 at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia and it is expected to reach India by January-end next year.

10 Navy pilots have been sent to Russia for training in landing and take-off from aircraft carriers and they will practise on the shore-based test facilities provided by the Russian Government, Navy officials said here.

The officials will undergo training for three to four months and would be ready for operating from the aircraft carrier by the time INS Vikramaditya reaches its bases at Karwar in Karnataka, they said.

The Navy has already procured 21 MiG-29K maritime combat aircraft and is expected to induct 24 more such aircraft in the next couple of years, they said.

The MiG-29Ks and the Admiral Gorshkov were ordered together by India in 2004 but the Gorshkov has been delayed by over five years and has seen its cost getting doubled to USD 2.3 billion in this time-period.

The induction of Gorshkov will see the Navy having two operational carriers, including INS Viraat. India is also manufacturing its first indigenous aircraft carrier in Cochin which is likely to be operational by 2018.

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