Within a week of the Cabinet Committee on Security approving the production of 83 indigenous Tejas jets, the government has formally moved ahead to procure 21 MiG-29, 12 Sukhoi-30MKI jet fighters from Russia along with the upgrades of their existing fleets.
A RFP (request for proposal) will soon be issued to Russian government’s defence export arm Rosoboronexport, Times of India quoted its defence sources as saying. Reportedly, the 21 MIG-29 airframes are lying in a mothballed condition in Russia since 1980s and will be procured at ‘relatively low prices’.
These will add to the 59 MIG-29s already possessed by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The 12 Sukhoi jets will add to the 272 jets already contracted from Russia for $15 million with the bulk of them being produced by HAL under license.
Along with the 83 new Tejas which will be inducted between January 2024 to December 2028 for around Rs 47,000 crore, the MiG-29s with the latest avionics and electronic warfare suits are expected to stem the freefall in the number of IAF fighter squadrons.
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