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Indian Navy reports crash of fifth MiG-29K in four years

A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K aboard India's second aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant , in September 2022. The Indian Navy has been considering an alternative carrier-borne fighter for the Vikrant . (Janes/Prathamesh Karle)

An Indian Navy Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K crashed in the Arabian Sea on 12 October.

The crash is the fifth such incident involving the type in the last four years. Janes assesses that collectively, the crashes could have a potential impact on New Delhi's decision on selecting carrier-borne aircraft for its second aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant .

A navy spokesperson said that the MiG-29K developed a technical malfunction while returning to the Indian Navy Station (INS) Hansa in the Indian state of Goa. “The pilot ejected safely and has been recovered in a swift SAR [search-and-rescue] operation,” the spokesperson said. “Pilot is reported to be in stable condition.”

The government added that the pilot had reported a technical problem to the air traffic control (ATC) centre before he ejected from the aircraft.

A navy spokesperson told Janes that the crash occurred some distance from the coastline. “An Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) was dispatched from INS Hansa in Goa for rescue,” the spokesperson said.

According to Janes data, India originally procured 37 single-seat MiG-29K and eight MiG-29KUB trainers between 2004 and 2010 for USD2.29 billion. Of the five MiG-29K crashes in the navy, two involved KUBs. In comparison, the Indian Air Force (IAF), which operates a larger fleet of MiG-29s, has reported three crashes during the last 10 years.

However, an Indian naval aviation source told Janes

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