Indian Navy achieves historic night landing milestone

In a significant achievement, the MiG-29K fighter aircraft successfully completed a night landing on the indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, marking a “historic milestone” for the Indian Navy. This challenging feat took place on Wednesday night as the INS Vikrant sailed through the Arabian Sea. The Navy hailed the trial as a testament to the crew’s determination, skill, and professionalism.

The Russian-origin MiG-29K, renowned for its advanced capabilities, demonstrated its prowess during the night landing, garnering praise from Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. In a tweet, Singh congratulated the Indian Navy, stating, “Congratulations to the Indian Navy for successfully undertaking the maiden night landing trials of MiG-29K on #INSVikrant. This remarkable achievement is a testimony to the skills, perseverance and professionalism of the Vikrant crew and Naval pilots. Kudos to them.” The Navy emphasised that the ongoing trials on INS Vikrant are aimed at achieving a “combat ready” state in the shortest possible time. Presently, the aircraft carrier is undergoing air certification and flight integration trials with both rotary wing and fixed-wing aircraft. The successful day landing of the MiG-29K and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (Navy) on February 6 marked an important milestone in this process. Since then, trials for day and night landings of all helicopters in the Naval inventory have made steady progress. Continuing the momentum of aviation trials, the Indian Navy accomplished another historic feat with the maiden night landing of the MiG-29K on May 24. Achieving this challenging milestone within just three months of the first day landing showcases the unwavering commitment, skill, and professionalism of the Indian Navy, the Vikrant crew, and the Naval pilots.

The Navy emphasised that INS Vikrant’s capabilities align with the government’s vision of an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India). The commissioning of INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier, in September of last year, placed the country in an elite group of nations capable of manufacturing aircraft carriers in the above 40,000-tonne category. The Navy stated that INS Vikrant, equipped with a sophisticated air defence network and anti-ship missile systems, will contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. With a capacity to accommodate 30 fighter jets and helicopters, INS Vikrant boasts over 2,300 compartments, including specialised cabins for women officers, reflecting India’s commitment to gender equality. The vessel measures 262 metres in length, 62 metres in width, and stands at a height of 59 metres. It can reach a top speed of approximately 28 knots and cruises at 18 knots, with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the commissioning ceremony of the INS Vikrant, lauded the floating city as a symbol of India’s self-reliance in defence. The night landing of the MiG-29K aircraft marks a crucial step in the flight trials conducted on the aircraft carrier, further enhancing its operational capabilities and affirming India’s growing strength in the maritime domain.

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