INAS 303 "Black Panthers" (IFTU)
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The Indian Navy formed an Intensive Flying Training Unit (IFTU) to handle the induction of its new Mig-29K/KUB fighter aircraft into the Fleet Air Arm which atarted arriving at INS Hansa since December 2009. The IFTU, under the command of Cdr AD Theophilus, presently has 10 Mig-29K qualified pilots along with four US Navy trained pilots who are undergoing conversion to the Mig-29K aircraft.The unit also has 4 Mig-29K and 2 Mig-29KUB aircraft on strength.
The first four Mig-29K/KUB aircraft, IN 801, IN 802 (Mig29K) and IN 671, IN 672 (Mig-29KUB) were formally inducted into the Navy on 19 Feb 2010 at INS Hansa during a ceremeony replete with flying displays by Hansa based units including a display by the Sagar Pawans of INAS 551, an IL-38SD, two Do-228, a SHAR T4I of INAS 552 and a Chetak of INAS 321.
When the IFTU is commissioned as INAS 303 "Black Panthers" sometime in May-June 2010, it will be the second fighter squadron in the Indian Navy's Air Arm.