Saturday, October 8, 2011

INS Shakti inducted into the Indian navy

Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma commissioned a fleet tanker named INS Shakti in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam city on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, Verma emphasising the importance of Naval air power said that India would acquire a total of 45 MiG-29K.

"Naval aviation is an area which has got most attention over the past few years. And, in terms of the new inductions that we are acquiring, one is with respect to the fighter aircraft. As you are aware there are 16 MiG-29 aircraft, Mig-29K of which 12 are combat fighters, 4 are trainers. This contract was signed in 2004," said Admiral Verma.

"The delivery is almost completed. We have also gone for a second contract of 29 more fighters. So all in all you can say there are 45 MiG-29 fighters which would come into our service," he added.

Admiral Verma also spoke about acquiring maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I, which is being customized and built specially for the Indian Navy by Boeing.

"Similarly the other major acquisition which is going on very well is the induction of the P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft which is being built by Boeing. And, the first flight has already been completed," said Admiral Verma.

"What is good to see is that the ship was delivered a week before the contracted period. It seems that even the P8I programme is slightly ahead of schedule. And these would be very very capable aircrafts. As you are aware there was a contract for 8 which was signed and there is an option clause being exercised for 4," he added.

INS Shakti is the second of two fleet tankers built by the Fincantieri Shipyard of Italy for the Indian Navy.

The vessel is easily one of the largest in the Indian Navy with 175 metres in length and 32 metres in width. The ship has a displacement of 27,000 tons and is capable of carrying 15,000 tons of cargo including fuel for ships and fighter aircraft.

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