Three years after they began arriving in the country, the Indian Navy's MiG-29K/KUB shipborne multi-role fighters finally have a home squadron: INAS 303 'Black Panthers' at INS Hansa, Dabolim.
Commanded by Captain A.D. Theophilus, a veteran Sea Harrier pilot and naval aviator, the new squadron will spend the next eight months continuing training and routing flying from the Dabolim airfield before beginning shipborne operations on the INS Vikramaditya early next year after the ship is delivered. The Indian Navy has ordered 45 MiG-29K/KUBs—enough for two squadrons of the frontline maritime fighter. A second squadron will be raised once deliveries are complete. Operations will also begin off the shore-based test facility shortly.