MiG-29Ks for Gorshkov aircraft carrier arrive in India
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 15:12
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 on Saturday.

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 Russian-Ukrainian origin.

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.


First Published: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 15:12

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