Panaji: The engaging aerobatic demonstrations of the Indian Navy’s elite Sagar Pawan team, based in Goa, have been put on hold because of heavy training pressures on aircraft.
Addressing reporters at the headquarters in Vasco, 35 kilometers from here, Commodore Ravneet Singh said the Kiran aircraft were currently engaged in training fresh pilots for MiG-29K and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
“Sagar Pawans are still in business,” he said. “But right now they are in charge of training fighter pilots. That is why they are not doing their shows.”
Sagar Pawan, which means ‘sea breeze’, is a team distinctly identifiable because of the dark blue-and-white stripes its four HJT-16 Kiran Mk2 aircraft carry. It is garrisoned at Goa’s Dabolim Naval Air Station, INS Hansa, and has been active since the last decade.
“With the induction of MiG-29k and the LCA in line for induction, there is need to train more pilots and the load is heavy,” Commander L. Tyagarajan said. “Once we train enough pilots for these two aircraft, we can focus back on the Sagar Pawan shows.
He ruled out reports that the Sagar Pawan team was grounded after an accident at an air show in Hyderabad last year.
“The fighter pilots for these two aircraft-types conduct their initial training with the (Indian) Air Force and are later trained by us,” Tyagarajan said.