IAF proposes to acquire 21 MiG-29, 12 Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia
The 12 Su-30 MKIs have been sought to replace the number of aircraft lost by the Indian Air Force in different accidents.
The Indian Air Force has submitted a proposal to the central government to acquire 33 new fighter aircraft from Russia. The proposal comes amid India’s heightened tensions with China following the violent clash at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh.
As per government sources, the Air Force was working on the proposal since some time but they have now fast-tracked the same. The proposals estimated to be worth around Rs 6000 crore are likely to be placed before the Union Defence Ministry for its final approval during a high-level meeting next week.
• The IAF proposal includes acquiring of 21 MiG-29s and 12 Su-30MKIs. The 12 Su-30 MKIs have been sought to replace the number of aircraft lost by the Indian Air Force in different accidents.
• The proposal also seeks acquiring of 21 MiG 29s to help the Air Force to meet its requirement of new fighters.
• The Air Force has carried out a study to check if the airframe of the MiG-29s on offer are good enough for long time use and they have been found to be in almost new condition.
• Though the Indian Air Force has MiG-29s in its fleet and the IAF pilots are familiar with it but the ones offered by Russia are different from the ones India owns.
• The Indian Air Force has three squadrons of the MiG-29s that have been undergoing upgrades for extended life and are considered reliable in the air defence roles.
Over 10-15 years, India has placed orders for 272 Su-30 fighter jets in different batches and senior officers feel that the number of planes acquired so far would be enough for the service's heavy-weight aircraft needs.
The Sukhois are slightly costly to operate because they require two pilots in comparison to other fighter jets that require only one pilot.