Mumbai: The Arrester gear for short landing at the Shore Based Test Facility being built at the Naval Air Station, INS Hansa in Goa, has passed the load test said Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha -FOC-in-C WEST, while replying to a query by Frontier India on the occasion of Navy day. The facility is being built for timely induction of Naval LCA (NLCA). Apart from the flight testing of NLCA, the SBTF is designed to be used for training of naval pilots on NLCA and MiG 29K. The work on the takeoff area is in progress and is expected to be completed soon, he said.
On the progress of Light combat Aircraft Navy, VADM Sinha said that the aircraft is being readied to match the induction date of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) (INS Vikrant). Replying to a Frontier India query on the bulky landing gear on NLCA, the VADM said that NLCA has flown with landing gear retracted. The leading gear, along with the aircraft is being tested. “We have never built it before. If you want good finish then we have to wait for little longer. Till then, we need to test the landing gear and aim to make it operational,” he said. Government has already approved 8 Limited Series production of Naval lCA along with the prototype testing. However, he added that HAL is busy with operationalising the Air force version of the LCA Tejas.
Speaking about the delay in induction of Mig-29K schedule, VADM said that the aircraft’s were first of its kind and user feedback was taken to improve the in production aircraft’s. Out of 16 Mig-29K’s ordered, Indian navy has inducted 15 in Goa. The deliveries of additional order of (corrected, earlier we mis-quoted as 45) 29 MiG-29K’s will start by the year end or beginning 2013.
VADM Sinha said that the delay in Mid life upgrade of Seaking helicopters and purchase of Naval Multi Role helicopters have been delayed due to contractor rivalries. “When we select a contractor, the competition goes to press with allegations. Then the MoD makes inquiries. By the time it is resolved, its almost 3 years and the costs get escalated and the process starts all over again,” he said.
Over the concern over use of Blue Water assets for piracy, VADM Sinha said that the smaller ships are being now used and it is a learning curve. He also informed that intermediate support vessels will be inducted shortly for protecting the offshore oil and gas assets.