New Delhi: The Indian Navy will de-induct its Sea Harrier fighter and induct a new squadron of MiG 29K planes at a formal ceremony at its naval station in Goa on May 11.
Britain-manufactured Sea Harriers, which have been the mainstay of the Indian Navy’s aerial arm since their induction in 1983 and were stationed aboard the INS Vikrant, will now be replaced by the Russian MiG 29Ks, which are all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft.
The Sea Harrier pilots are now being trained to fly the Russian MiG 29K fighter aircraft. India had planned to replace the Sea Harriers with the homemade Light Combat Aircraft (Naval) version but the program is more than 15 years behind schedule.
State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. conducted a limited upgrade to the Sea Harriers in 2009 but acquisition of spares has become a problem because BAE Systems has stopped manufacturing the aircraft.
The limited upgrade included mounting of Israeli Elta-made multimode fire control radars and Derby beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles.