The Russian navy has taken delivery of its first four series-produced MiG-29K/KUB carrier based fighter jets.
“The MiG aircraft-manufacturing corporation has handed over two MiG-29K single-seat and two MiG-29KUB twin-seat carrier-based fighter aircraft,” a Russian official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
The Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract with MiG in February 2012 for delivery of 20 MiG-29K and four MiG-29KUB fighters by 2015.
The aircraft will be deployed on Russia's sole serving carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, based in Murmansk with the Northern Fleet.
The Admiral Kuznetsov currently operates Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter aircraft.
The MiG-29K is a naval variant of the MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet, and has folding wings, an arrester tail-hook, strengthened airframe and multirole capability thanks to its Zhuk-ME slotted array radar, MiG was quoted as saying.
Unlike the Su-33, which is capable of air defense missions only, the MiG-29K can be armed with a wide variety of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air weaponry and laser-designation systems.
The aircraft is also capable of “buddy” refueling other MiG-29Ks using the PAZ-1MK refueling pod.
So far, the aircraft has only entered service with India, for use on the refitted Russian-built carrier INS Vikramaditya, which was handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15.