India has joined the elite group of nations when the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) was commissioned into the Indian Navy at INS Hansa in Panaji, a naval official said on Saturday. This is the third such facility in the world, after the United States and Ukraine.
The SBTF, which was commissioned recently, is primarily used for flight testing of naval aircraft that operate from aircraft carriers, he said.
Initially conceptualised for flight testing of LCA (Navy), the facility was commissioned right in time for training of MiG-29K pilots of Indian Navy, who are now ready to commence operations from the newly acquired aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.
The SBTF has two parts including the Take-off Area with a ski-jump facility and the Landing Area with arresting wire facility, both of which are a replica of INS Vikramaditya, a press release by the Indian Navy, said.
This is also being replicated onboard India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant being built at Kochi.
With this, the Navy is well placed to transition into a new era of arrested landings onboard carriers and the fulfilment of its dream of operating two carriers simultaneously.
All aids pertaining to flying operations from the deck have also been installed on the SBTF. These aids facilitate aircraft hook to catch the arresting wire for landing.
Built as a state-of-the-art facility, the project was managed by Aeronautical Development Agency in consultation with Indian Navy and built by Goa Shipyard Limited under the supervision of Russian specialists.