Sunday, February 28, 2010

India, China pilots may train at Ukraine base

In a strange twist of fate, a former province of the then USSR — Ukraine — is emerging as the likely meeting point for naval aviators from India and China as the two countries try to rapidly acquire the capabilities to build and operate aircraft carriers of the future. A small aircraft carrier training base on the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine is the most sought after training facility for both countries that are planning to induct modern aircraft carriers in the next five years.While India, which has been operating aircraft carriers for the past 50 years, wants to use the Nitka Research Test and Flying Centre to train its pilots during 2012-1013 in the run-up to the Gorshkov aircraft carrier induction, Beijing is already making overtures to Ukraine for using the facility to train its aviators for carrier-borne operations. China’s first aircraft carrier, according to US estimates, is set to roll out and get into service by 2015. India, on the other hand, expects to get its indigenous aircraft carrier by 2014-15, in addition to the Gorshkov in 2013.......................indianexpress


A strange twist of fate indeed. India can get ahead by sending some trainees to NAS Naval Patuxent River in Maryland, US, too. French sent their crew there to gain more sea leg experience prior to qualifying Rafale for operation on board Charles de Gaulle (R91).

Carrier works when only when there's strong support and escort fleet to complement the flattop.

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