The Indian Air Force is considering an urgent procurement of MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia, according to Indian media reports.
, which is facing an acute shortage of combat aircraft, is in advance talks with Russia for an urgent procurement of MiG 29 fighters that can be delivered at a relatively short notice.
According to The Economic Times report, the plan to acquire 21 additional MiG 29 aircraft to make a new squadron. The procurement has been discussed in detail last month and is expected to cost the Indian exchequer less than Rs 6,000 crore, government, the report added citing sources.
The Indian Air Force first purchased the Russian jets in the 1980s and currently operates three squadrons that are being upgraded in-house at its Base Repair Depot (BRD). The Indian Navy operates the naval version of the MiG -29 – called MiG-29K -, which are deployed on INS Vikramaditya, India’s sole operational aircraft carrier. The Navy has a total of 45 of the MiG 29K/KUB fighters in service, the last of which were ordered in 2010.
The Air Force faces a depleting fighter squadron strength that has now dwindled to just 31 against the sanctioned strength of 42. Even with the 36 Dassault Rafale jets on order from France, the strength is expected to nosedive over the next three years as several legacy MiG-21 and MiG-27 squadrons are retired.