While the Indian Navy is already hunting for multi-role naval fighters for the newly commissioned INS Vikrant, the aircraft carrier will operate with Russia-made MiG-29 'Black Panthers' fighter jet

The Indian Navy recently commissioned the first-ever India-made naval air carrier INS Vikrant in the service, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an induction ceremony held in Kochi, Kerala. The INS Vikrant is only the second active naval aircraft carrier with the Indian Navy and also the first indigenous carrier built under the PM Modi's ambitious 'Make-in-India' campaign. It is named after the first aircraft carrier of India - INS Vikrant - that played a crucial role in 1971 Indo-Pak war. As they say, a naval aircraft carrier is as good as the planes it can carry. The INS Vikrant is made to house 35 aircrafts. While India is in the process of induction either of the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet or Dassault Rafale M, for now, it will operate with the Russia-made MiG-29 jets. Here's an understanding of the fighter jet:

All About MiG-29K 'Black Panthers'

The Russian-made 'Black Panthers', a naval version of the MiG-29 fighter, would be the primary fighters of INS Vikrant, the largest ship ever built in India. The aircraft has been in service with the Indian Air Force for decades. Russia shipped a total of 45 MiG-29K/KUB fighters to India in two batches. The second lot of 29 aircraft was delivered in 2016, while the first lot of 16 aircraft was delivered in 2011.

- The naval MiG-29 jet, called MiG-29K, will operate from INS Vikrant in anti-air, anti-surface, and land attack roles
- The MiG-29K is an all-weather fighter capable of exceeding twice the speed of sound - or Mach 2
- It can pull up to eight times the force of gravity and reach altitudes of over 65,000 feet
- Capable of engaging targets in the air, sea, and land, the MiG-29K can fly long distances to complete crucial missions because of its air-to-air refuelling capability
- The MiG-29K squadron has been named INAS 303, also known as the "Black Panthers"
- It differs significantly from the IAF MiG-29B variants optimised for air-to-air missions.

INS Vikrant Aircrafts

Apart from the MiG-29K, the warship's airwing will also include Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters from the US, and domestic Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS.

INS Vikrant: Future Aircrafts

The Indian Navy is already hunting for multi-role naval fighters for INS Vikrant. The Indian Navy is interested in procuring a twin-engine aircraft to replace the MiG-29Ks currently operating from INS Vikramaditya. Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault's Rafale-M, the naval derivative of the French multi-role fighter, are competing to provide carrier-borne warplanes to the Indian Navy.

Both fighters have already undergone flight testing by the Navy at the INS Hansa shore-based test facility in Goa to test which aircraft would work best with the 40,000-ton INS Vikrant. Fighter aircraft are launched using the Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) technology. INS Vikrant is outfitted with a ski-jump and a set of three 'arrester wires' for recovering the aircraft once it has been launched.