Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Commissioning of INAS 303 MiG-29 Aircraft - Black Panthers

Date of Issue: May 11, 2013

The Department of Posts, India - Maharashtra and Goa circle issued a Special Cover to commemorate the Commissioning of Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 303 of MiG-29 Aircraft. Also called Black Panthers. On the right, is the Crest of INAS 303.

Defence Minister AK Antony commissioned the first MiG-29 K - supersonic fighter jets squadron into the Indian Navy at the INS Hansa in Goa, on May 11, 2013.

India has about 45 MiG-29K which have cost the exchequer $2.4 billion (over Rs. 13,200 crore). A squadron each will be positioned on board INS Vikramaditya and the indigenously-made aircraft carrier - INS Vikrant - that is expected to be launched on July 12, 2013. Till then the planes will fly from Goa.

This is the first-induction of fighters in the Navy since the Sea Harriers were commissioned in early 1980s.

In the 60 years of the Fleet Air Arm, this is the first time that the Indian Navy will be operating the aircraft that can fly faster than the speed of sound. Moreover, the ability of the MiG-29K to stay in air, cover distance with weapons is about four times more than the existing British made Sea Harrier aircraft. The MiG-29 can also be refuelled mid-air allowing it to cover longer distances.

"The MiG-29 K will be a game changer in Indian Ocean region. It will allow us to fly longer distances and maintain a better vigil. The arc of the influence of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region now stands increased and strengthened," Flag officer Commanding Western Naval Command Admiral Shekhar Sinha, who is also senior-most aviator of the Indian Navy, said.

Source: Wikipedia, strapost.com, ndtv.com

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