One of the more glamourous aspects of covering defenceaerospace for Flightglobal is chasing public relations guys at the region’sdefence ministries. Earlier this week I was chasing India’s ministry of defencefor confirmation of reports that a MiG-29KUB had conducted the first touch andgoes from the deck of the INS Vikramaditya, which is undergoing sea trials in theicy seas off Northern Russia.
They have yet to get back to me, so I’ll keep chasing them.I decided to check Youtube in the hope that one of the Russian engineers aboardthe ship had made a surreptitious video of the flight tests and uploaded it toYoutube. Regrettably no such skulduggery seems to be taking place.
I did, however, find a clip from May 2011 showing theMiG-29KUB performing flight tests from the Russian carrier Admiral Kuzntesov.
The Vikramaditya that India is buying is smaller than theKuznetsov, and a heavily modified Kiev class ship. The Cold Warera Kievs embarked a handful of the risible Yak-38 Forger and 20 Kamovhelicopters, with the foredeck occupied by anti-surface and anti-aircraftmissiles. It was designed to be a formidable warship even without the embarkedaircraft.
The Kuznetsov is more like a US carrier, although it didpack some cool anti-surface missiles in vertical launch tubes beneath hatches underthe flight deck. The Russians think of some really cool stuff.
Anyway, back to the Vikrmaditya. Mindef is probably notgetting back to me because they want to do a big PR event when the first Indianpilot lands on the ship. Can’t blame them: the Vikramaditya is a huge advancefor Indian naval air, and the type of thing military PR guys love to play up. Sooneror later we’ll be hearing a lot more about this ship.