Panaji, Feb 19 (Calcutta Tube) The Indian Navy named its first combat jet squadron the White Tigers. To ‘rhyme’ with this, it has named its second squadron, four aircraft of which were inducted Friday, the Black Panthers. As and when additional squadrons are inducted, they will be appropriately named, an officer said.
‘Our Sea Harrier squadron is named White Tigers. So we wanted a name from the cat family to rhyme well with White Tigers. Thus, the second squadron was named Black Panthers,’ Captain Surendra Ahuja, the commanding officer of the shore-based INS Hansa where the four Mig-29Ks inducted Friday will be initially stationed, told IANS.
‘As and when additional squadrons are inducted, we will name them appropriately,’ he added.
The four MiG-29s will soon be joined by another two that are currently undergoing tests, with 10 more expected over the next few months.
On a long-term basis, the navy would get an additional 29 MiG-29Ks, with Defence Minister A.K. Antony announcing Friday these would be ordered from Russia.
The Black Panthers squadron will eventually be deployed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, which is currently being refurbished in a Russian shipyard and which is expected to be commissioned in the Indian Navy around 2012.
The additional squadrons are likely to be deployed on the Vikramaditya and the indegenous aircraft carrier that is being built at the Cochin Shipyard.
The Sea Harriers operate from the navy’s lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat. Inducted in the 1980s, 11 planes are in service: eight for operational purposes and three for training.