In a move to add numerical boost to IAF’s dwindling fighter squadron strength, the Indian Air Force (IAF) ordered 33 secondhand combat aircrafts including 21 mothballed MiG-29s from Russian Air Force and 12 Sukhoi 30s learned GDC citing India Today newspaper.
Amid tension with China, a proposal in this regard by the IAF is likely to be taken up before a high-level meeting of the Defence Ministry, government sources told GDC.
The 12 Su-30s are being planned to be inducted for replacing the number of aircraft lost by the Air Force in different accidents due to engine failures.
The 21 MiG 29s that the Indian Air Force is planning to acquire are from Russia which has offered to sell these planes to help the Air Force to meet its requirement of fighters. The unit price of these secondhand aircraft is estimated at $18 million a piece.
“As per plans, the MiG-29s on offer would be upgraded to MiG-29UPG standard which are already in service with the IAF. The radars and other equipment on the planes would also be of the latest standards,” the sources said.
So it should come as no surprise that India this week reportedly placed a $780 million order with Russia for 33 fighters, enough to equip or reequip two squadrons. What’s weird is which fighter types New Delhi reportedly is buying reported India Today newspaper.
Indian Air Force (IAF) is eyeing 12 more Sukhoi Su-30s multirole fighters and 21 Mikoyan MiG-29 to its arsenal, and tackle the twin threats of Pakistan and China. IAF already has a sanctioned strength of 272 Su-30 MKIs and also operates 69 MiG-29 UPGs.
IAF requires 42 squadrons to be effective during a two-front war with China and Pakistan but is currently operating with only 31 as it retired the older MiG-21, MiG-25 and MiG-27 aircraft.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will assemble the Sukhoi twin engine multirole fighters from the kits at its Ozar plant in Maharashtra’s Nashik while the MiG will come in flyaway condition.
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