The final 11 of originally 30 British Aerospace Sea Harriers have said so long to their motherland India, after serving the second largest populated country in the world for 33 years.
Six Sea Harriers already left the Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Viraat on 6 March 2016, when the vessel – due to be retired itself this year – returned to Mumbai from its last cruise.
Russian-made to modern battlefield
The Indian Sea Harriers soldiered on a decade longer after the British Royal Navy retired their aircraft. Delivered first in 1983 the Indian Sea Harriers had little left to bring on a modern battlefield. Their role has been taken up by Russian-made Mikoyan-Gurevich designed, Irkut built MiG-29Ks. Of those jets – with the NATO reporting name Fulcrum – 30 of 45 ordered have been delivered.
Indian Navy aircraft carriers
The new breed will has not only equipped the air wing of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with a nice combat element, it will also serve on board the new INS Vikrant when it will start sailing in 2019.
Sea Harriers in museums
For the remaining 11 India Sea Harriers the Autumn of their lives might come with a spotlight, when they will keep on serving as museum items on several locations. For now, they are stored at Indian Naval Air Station Hansa in Goa, until they began what must be the last journey of their lives. No more vertical take-offs, just a final landing.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Formation of four Indian Navy Sea Harriers passing Port Orii (Image © Indian Navy)