The Indian Navy will deploy its MiG29K/KUB, for the first time in over four years of their service, towards the eastern seaboard.
Preparations have begun to deploy and permanently base a full squadron (consisting 17 aircraft) of these fighters to strengthen the security of India’s energy-rich and trade-wise vital, eastern seaboard, according to local media reports.
The MiG-29K, along with India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft , will be based on the indigenously made aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’, work on which is going on at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Kochi.
According to reports, the LCA and MiG 29Ks will replace the aging depleting Sea Harrier squadron by 2014. As for the MiG-29Ks, Russia will deliver the second squadron of aircraft meant for the indigenous aircraft carrier by 2015.
“The MiG-29K is heavier and faster than the Harrier and carries more weaponry. Its twin ‘marine-ised’ RD-33MK engines resist corrosion from the salty sea spray, and it goes up to twice the speed of sound (Mach-2). It operates at ranges that the Sea Harrier could not dream of, thanks to the MiG-29’s large fuel capacity and its capability to be refuelled mid-air,” according to a spokesperson.
The newly upgraded Indian MiGs have the capability to fight air targets, strike ground- moving and stationary targets with precision weapons by day and night and in any weather conditions. Modernization also includes advanced avionics, glass cockpit, electronic warfare and AESA radars.
General Director of JSC RAC MiG Sergei Korotkov, said, "The aircraft delivery, upgraded in Russia - is the first step in the contract execution for the modernization of a large fleet of the Indian Air Force MiG-29s. We are getting ready for the second phase of work, which provides modernization of fighters in India in close cooperation with the Indian industry".