The US President Barack Obama will witness the maiden appearance of two Russian-origin naval MiG-29K fighters on the Indian Republic day.
The two fighters will be accompanied by a US-origin P8I maritime surveillance aircraft, forming a “Vic” formation in the front.
New Delhi will witness the first appearance of naval fighters, as a growing reflection of India’s maritime strength, according to Deccan Herald.
Obama will also witness appearances of tanks, armoured vehicles and Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. Two of the Indian Air Force’s latest acquisitions – C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III – from the USA too would fly on the Rajpath.
India purchased 45 naval fighters from Russia to fly from the decks of INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) and indigenous carrier Vikrant, which is under construction. The first MiG-29K squadron was commissioned in Goa in August, 2013 and currently there are six fully trained pilots who can land on the deck even in pitch dark night.
Carrying enough punch to undertake simultaneous air dominance and power projection missions, the MiG-29K can take Indian naval aviation from a defensive stature to one of dominance. The aircraft has a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound (about 2,000 km per hour) and can climb to an altitude of over 65,000 feet.
The second base of these fighters is expected at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.