Update: Indian MoD approves acquisition of 33 Russian fighter aircraft

by Rahul Bedi

India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the INR181.48 billion (USD2.43 billion) procurement of 21 Mikoyan MiG-29 and 12 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) amid heightened tensions between India and China over a border dispute along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in the Himalayas.

In a 2 July statement the MoD said the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which is headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, cleared the acquisition of 21 upgraded, second-hand MiG-29s from Russia for INR74.18 billion and of 12 licence-built Su-30MKIs for INR107.3 billion.

The 21 platforms will supplement 59 MiG-29s inducted into the IAF from 1986 that are being upgraded to MiG-29M standard.

The 12 additional Su-30MKIs will be acquired to replace an equal number of aircraft lost in accidents over the years. These fighters will be licence-built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Officials said that HAL, which by March 2021 will have completed the last of 222 licence-built Su-30MKIs as part of the IAF’s fleet of 272 of the type, had been eager for additional orders to keep its assembly lines active.

Four IAF Su-30MKI fighters flying in formation. The Indian MoD has approved the acquisition of an additional 12 licence-built Su-30MKI and 21 second-hand MiG-29 fighter aircraft amid tensions between India and China over a border dispute in the Himalayas. (Irkut)

Four IAF Su-30MKI fighters flying in formation. The Indian MoD has approved the acquisition of an additional 12 licence-built Su-30MKI and 21 second-hand MiG-29 fighter aircraft amid tensions between India and China over a border dispute in the Himalayas. (Irkut)

IAF sources said the additional aircraft will boost the service’s depleting fighter squadron numbers, which had dropped from a sanctioned strength of 42 to 28 squadrons.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/update-indian-mod-approves-acquisition-of-33-russian-fighter-aircraft

India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the INR181.48 billion (USD2.43 billion) procurement o...

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