“This month four more will be despatched. Next year, six more will be delivered and we will fulfil the contract,” Sergey Korotkov, General Director of Russian Aircraft Corporation-MiG said in an interaction with a group of journalists from India who were in Russia on the invitation of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
India had contracted 45 MiG-29K carrier-based fighters from Russia in two batches — 16 fighters in 2004 along with the contact for acquiring aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and another 29 fighters in 2010. In fact, India is the first launch customer of the carrier variant of MiG-29 even before the Russian Navy. While 16 aircraft currently fly from INS Vikramaditya, the remaining Mi9-29K are to operate from the under-construction indigenous carrier Vikrant, scheduled to enter service in 2018.
With the first batch of six Mig-29s of the Air Force upgraded in Russia, the next phase of modernisation of the remaining fighters in India has began and is progressing on schedule. There are other fighter upgrade programmes running in parallel — Mirage and Jaguar. These are important for the Air Force as new inductions are delayed and existing fleets of Mig-21s and Mig-27s are retired.