MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) – A training facility for naval pilots to practice aircraft carrier operations is set to open in India’s coastal Goa region later this month, the head of the Russian company overseeing the project said Monday.
The site is based on a Russian facility under construction near the Black Sea town of Yeysk that was planned to open last year but has suffered undisclosed delays.
“The Indian NITKA facility will be officially operational in early February. The takeoff system is in place, and the Indian pilots are already flying there,” Sergei Vlasov, head of the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoe Design Bureau said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.
The facility will train Indian naval aviators who will later be stationed on India’s first large aircraft carrier, the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya, delivered to the country last month.
The Russian facility is known to feature a takeoff ramp and arrestor cables to enable naval aviators to practice high-precision and high-acceleration takeoffs and landings.
It was not immediately clear whether the Indian facility replicated all of those systems.
Computer simulator training of carrier-based aircraft began in Goa in 2007.
Indian naval aviators have also recently trained in the United States. The first Indian pilot to complete US carrier qualifications did so in 2007, the US Navy said.