The Indian Navy retire its ageing Sea Harriers, replacing them with MiG 29K

Return to frontpage

Indian Navy to bid adieu to Sea Harriers

Updated: May 5, 2016


The Indian Navy will de-induct its ageing Sea Harriers, replacing them with MiG 29K fighter aircraft, on May 11 at INS Hansa base in Vasco at Goa.

“With the scheduled decommissioning of INS Viraat and great difficulty in maintenance of the ageing Sea Harrier fighters, they are scheduled to be de-inducted on May 11, 2016. The squadron will be operating the advanced MiG 29K fighters,” the Navy said in a statement here on Wednesday.

Admiral R. K. Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff will be the Chief Guest for the ceremony.

The Sea Harriers were inducted in the Indian Navy following phasing out of then obsolete Seahawks.

“In November 1979, post government approval, Naval HQ placed an order for 06 Sea Harrier FRS Mk 51 fighters and 02 T Mk 60 Trainers, for delivery in 1983,” a naval spokesman said.

“In September 1980, Sea Harrier Project (SHARP) was formed with select naval aviators and technical personnel for coordination of trials, testing, acceptance and training.

The first newly-built Sea Harrier for the Indian Navy (IN 601) was ready on December 21, 1982.

The first three Sea Harriers flying via Malta, Luxor and Dubai, led by Lt Cdr Arun Prakash VrC, landed at Dabolim on December 16, 1983. This was followed by first deck landing on the carrier, INS Vikrant, on December 20, 1983 and the arrival of the first Sea Harrier T Mk 60 trainer, on March 29, 1984,” the spokesman said.

He said the reborn white tigers of the Indian Navy were now a totally professional outfit and came out with flying colours during frequent embarkations, joint exercises, Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Training and Air to Air gunnery exercises.

“The squadron was embarked on the carrier during Operations Vijay and Parakram providing the essential offensive posture to the country and ensuring readiness to react to any escalation by the enemy,” he said.

“In last few years the Harriers have added a new dimension to their operations with the increased multi national exercises in which the Indian Navy participates,” the spokesman stated. – PTI


Indian Navy to Replace Sea Harriers with Russian MiG-29K

21:53 04.05.2016

Obsolete British Sea Harriers have found a place in Indian museums as the Indian Navy prepares to replace them with the MiG-29K.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Navy will induct a new squadron of MiG-29Ks in a ceremony scheduled to take place on May 11 in the southern state of Goa. The Russian fighter aircraft is replacing the obsolete British Sea Harriers which served the Indian Navy since 1983, and were placed aboard the INS Viraat warship, which is also being decommissioned.

“With the scheduled decommissioning of INS Viraat and great difficulty in the maintenance of the ageing Sea Harrier fighters, they are scheduled to be de-inducted on May 11. The squadron will be operating the advanced MiG-29K fighters,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The Sea Harriers were being operated by the White Tigers squadron, which is being trained to operate its first supersonic fighters in 30 MiG-29Ks — out of the 45 contracted from Russia for the INS Vikramaditya and the under-construction indigenous carrier INS Vikrant. The MiG-29K is expected to give the Indian Navy a four-fold capability jump over Sea Harriers.

Naval Commander Abhijit Singh told Sputnik, “The MiG-29Ks will operate from the INS Vikramaditya, an aircraft carrier which we have procured from Russia. We have already purchased one batch of MiG-29Ks from Russia but there is a request for additonal MiG-29s. Spare parts of Harriers were not available. Harriers were used on the old Viraat aircraft carrier. Now Viraat is also being decommissioned. We are now shifting on to a more sophisticated aircraft.”

The Sea Harriers had an operational speed of 640 knots or 1,186 kmph, with a range of around 800 nautical miles, but, they fell short of exceeding the speed of sound at Mach 1 or 1,235 kmph. The state run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited conducted a limited upgrade a few years ago which included fitting on Israeli Elta EL/M-2032 multi-mode fire control radars and ‘Derby’ beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, but due to the unavailability of spare parts, further upgrades had become impossible.

India had planned to replace the Sea Harriers with the homemade Light Combat Aircraft (Naval) version but the program is more than 15 years behind schedule.

The Indian Navy bought 30 British-made Sea Harriers in 1983 but only 11 now remain. The retired aircraft will be stationed at different museums across the country as show pieces.



  MiG-29K MiG-29KUB
Length, m 17,3 17,3
Wing span, m* 11,99 11,99
Height, m 4,4 4,4
Take-off weight, kg:    
– standard 18 550 18 650
– maximum 24 500 24 500
Maximum flight speed, km/h:    
– near ground 1400 1400
– at high altitude 2200 2100
Service ceiling, m 17 500 17 500
Maximum G-load 8 8
Ferry range, km:    
– without drop tanks 2000 1700
– with 3 drop tanks 3000 2700
– with 3 drop tanks & one in-flight refueling 5500 5500
Engines RD-33MK RD-33MK
Take-off thrust, kgf 2×9000 2×9000
Number of external stations 8 8
“A-A” missiles:    
– middle range 6xRVV-AE 6xRVV-AE
– short range 8xR-73E 8xR-73E
“A-S” missiles:    
– anti-ship 4xKh-31A,Kh-35E 4xKh-31A,Kh-35E
-anti-radar 4xKh-31P 4xKh-31P
Guided bombs 4xKAB-500Kr 4xKAB-500Kr
Air gun, 30 mm Gsh-301 Gsh-301

* in unfolded (fly) condition


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s