The Navy's brand new INAS 303
squadron is being christened "Black Panthers
" and will get its first four MiG-29Ks in late October or early November. The squadron emblem (to the right) will be painted on the tails of all the MiG-29Ks -- a snarling Black Panther, with a red mouth and nose, and yellow eyes. According to sources, there had been talk of naming the squadron "Sea Wolves", though the Navy finally took a call to name the squadron after a big cat, like the White Tigers
Sources at Naval HQ indicate that Commander Theophilus
is tipped to take over as the first Commanding Officer of the Black Panthers squadron. Cdr Theophilus currently heads the Intensive Flying & Testing Unit (IFTU) that has been raised in anticipation of the MiG-29K.
The contract for 16 MiG-29K jets was signed with RAC-MiG on Jan 20, 2004 for $740.35-million, with an agreed delivery commencement date of June 2007 (more than two years late, as usual). More details on the Indian Navy's preparations for the MiG-29K soon on LiveFist
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