Indian Navy on 11 May 2016 decommissioned its fleet of iconic Sea Harriers. This episode of decommissioning marked the end of an era in India’s naval history, as the country holds an official ceremony phasing out the last of its iconic Sea Harrier jets.
They were replaced with new generation MIG-29 K fighters in a ceremony on INS Hansa near Vasco.
Wing Commander Shikhu Raj, a Sea Harrier Pilot himself and the commander of the squadron handed over the command of the squadron to Captain KHV Singh in an historic ceremony and bid adieu to the Sea Harriers.
The function was presided over by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan.
About fighter planes Sea Harriers
• The de-inducted fighter aircrafts, the Naval Air Squadron 300 - INAS 300, were popularly known as 'white tigers'.
• Called the glorious heritage of Indian Navy, Sea Harriers were inducted in 1983 and played a pivotal role in various operations.
• Designed and manufactured by British Aerospace, Sea Harrier is a naval Short-Vertical Take-Off and Landing Jet Fighter, used for both reconnaissance and strike.
• They operated from both INS Vikrant and INS Viraat aircraft carriers and participated in operations including Vijay and Parakram apart from many naval exercises.
• The use of the ski jump take offs from a short flight deck with a heavier load was a specialty of these 33 year serving fighter jets.
• The aircraft, developed by the British in the 1960s, was used by the British during the Falklands War, both Gulf Wars, and during the NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• The retired aircraft will be put on display in museums.
About MIG 29 K
• The newly inducted MIG 29 Ks will be operational from INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier\
• Presently 45 MIG 29k are being introduced
At present, Navy has more than 200 aircrafts and helicopters combat ready.
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