New Delhi: Ending a year-long wait, the first
batch of MiG-29K naval fighter jets, purchased from Russia for
the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, arrived in Goa Friday evening, three years ahead of the warship.
These MiG-29Ks are part of the 16 ordered for USD 526
million in 2004 along with Gorshkov, which is expected to be
delivered to the Indian Navy only by 2012-end.
"The first batch of the MiG-29K fighters` parts have
landed in INS Hansa, the naval air station in Goa, last
evening," Navy spokesperson Commander PVS Satish said here
The aircraft parts, packed in containers in a knocked down
condition, landed here by an AN-124 cargo aircraft, considered
to be the biggest operational military aircraft of
Now, Navy`s aviation engineers would assemble the aircraft
at the Goa air base, where it would be stationed and operated
from land till the time Gorshkov enters service.
They would also be test flown from Goa by Russian
engineers before they are formally inducted into the naval
aviation wing. These aircraft had recently completed carrier
flight deck testing and weapon trials in Russia.
Meanwhile, the Navy has decided to place a follow-on order
for the MiG-29Ks from Russia and it could purchase an
additional 29 aircraft soon, taking the total number of the
carrier-borne fighter jets to 45.
Though the aircraft is meant for Gorskkov, Navy is keeping
its options of operating it aboard the indigenous aircraft
carrier under construction at Kochi too, if the DRDO fails to
operationalise the naval variant of the indigenous `Tejas`
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
Expecting the naval LCA to be delayed beyond its scheduled
delivery in 2013, the Navy has already issued a global Request
for Information (RFI) recently for a new class of carrier-
borne fighter aircraft to aviation majors such as Boeing,
D`Assault and MiG.