Sunday, February 15, 2015

Third In The World: India's Shore-based STOBAR Facility

India's Shore-based Test Facility (SBTF) at Goa's INS Hansa air station is a bustling facility now. After launching and trapping Russian-built MiG-29Ks for months now, it launched an LCA Navy in January, and is getting all set for a lot of activity starting March when the second LCA Navy prototype (NP2) heads to Goa to join carrier compatibility tests. There's a good chance foreign aircraft could use the facility soon too.

Indian Navy sources say the facility may be used for the first time for training of foreign pilots starting this year. The navy has also been asked if the facility can be made available for at least two exercises later this year, involving the MiG-29K and the LCA Navy NP1. 

Designed by Russia's Nevskoye Design Bureau (NDB) for India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the SBTF is an impressive facility that launches aircraft straight out over the Arabian Sea. The facility is also crucial to how the LCA Navy shapes up as a fighter platform for aircraft carriers. The facility is split into three zones: the take-off area, which comprises the ski-jump, restraining gear (Project 11430/Vikramaditya standard by OAO RAC MiG) and light signalling system, the landing area, which has a two 90 metre wire Proletarsky Zavod Svetlana arresting gear system capable of trapping aircraft up to 20 tons, providing a maximum deceleration during trapping of less than 4.5g.

The SBTF's 57 x 16 metre ski-jump is parabolic and assembled at a 14-degree angle, constructed using steel, concrete and a 10mm steel plate on top. The ski-jump tops off at 5.71 metres at the launch point.
The TV landing control system, the FSUE TV Research Institute MTK-201EB, provides visibility of aircraft out to 6-km, monitors aircraft from an approach distance of 5-km and auto-tracks them from 4.5 km. As with most landing systems of this kind, it is programmed to measure range and deviations in approach path about 3-km before touchdown. The light signaling system is the SATURN-N, provided by Russia's LLA Aerosvet.
The crucial optical landing system (OLS), the LUNA-3E supplied by FSUE Elektropribor, is perhaps the most crucial part of the SBTF, providing non-stop visual cues to pilots on approach, to correct glide and approach paths before touchdown. The lights are visible to pilots out to 5-km at night and 3-km in daytime.
The SBTF won't have any shortage of work in the foreseeable future -- apart from the Vikramaditya, the country's first Vikrant-class indigenous aircraft carrier is also a STOBAR boat. The Indian Navy's vision on moving away from STOBAR into the realm of catapult operations won't yield anything anytime soon, though the groundwork was recently laid when India and the U.S. decided to work together and talk about EMALS technology, sparking speculation over whether the second or third ship in the Vikrant-class would be reconfigured for CATOBAR operations.


Anonymous said...

Anyone else happy with the wonderful momentum on Live Fist? Keep up the great work Shiv. Proud of your hard work. Don't stop the stories, you have got the momentum now!

Anonymous said...

Yes...Shiv is on a roll here..
Thanks a lot and please do keep posting..

SpazSinbad said...

Great Info on equipment - thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Shiv, props on the increased activity. You're on your way to become 'the' definitive defence journalist, unlike douches like prasun sengupta. I might just add that you can take some time out to present some human aspects of armed forces. Like guest posts by officers in service, like a naval officer stationed on Vikramaditya, or an army guy posted in some remote, conflicted area. Might just give us another pov to ponder about.
Keep up the good work, broh.

Anonymous said...

absolutely !!
good stuff shiv. keep it coming please.

& please enable a way to subscribe to e-mail alerts when a new post is up.

Anonymous said...

The quality of the articles of late is certainly a lot better, and you no more seem to hold back with the analysis/views. No more just pictures,although they were nice too. Nice work, keep them coming please. BTW which foreign a/c are we talking about. Only GBR comes to mind.

Pandey said...

The facility is split into three zones, you said. The narrative though seems to talk of only two - the take off zone and the landing zone. What's the third? Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Pls do not remove this article...since it mentions Russia all over you did to the SU-50 PakFa.

Honestly the decision of not giving any comfort to Russia at a time when they need you the sure to back fire.

Even US announced that no India decision will be at the cost of Pakistan...a mildly important country...compared what Russia means to India.

Hope Modi & Parikar open up to the truth and balance their ways of dealing with Russia before it is too late!

No US allies have ever benefitted except that US will create it into an over dependent country...which cannot survive without examples are UK, Israel, japan and to a certain extent South Korea.

However they grow...only countries which grow militarily are the ones which are standing opposite to US start with Brazil, China, Russia, India & also to a certain extent Iran!

Hope wisdom prevails in our politicos!

Shiv Aroor said...

Forgot to mention that :) The third area is the workshop and telemetry building.

Balaji said...

Shiv, thanks for clarifying the third area.
Wish to add that whilst specialised equipment came from Russia in order to replicate the ship, the facility build and operations are entirely by Indian agencies.

Parikshit said...

Shiv, what happens during low visibility conditions, like fog and heavy rain? Do they have an ILS equivalent?