Four days after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) paved the way for the purchase of 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India is set to procure 21 MiG 29 fighter jets and 12 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI aircraft from Russia, defence ministry sources said.
India is likely to procure the MiG-29 fighter aircraft at “relatively lower prices”, sources said. At present, the Indian Air Force (IAF) operates 59 such aircraft and the new fighter planes will add more firepower to the depleting strength of the air force.
India had, long ago, contracted a deal with Russia for 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs. Till date, the IAF has procured 268 Sukhois, with nine of them lost in crashes over the years.
In 2020, the defence ministry had approved a procurement of 21 MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia and 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft from State-run aerospace behemoth HAL. The government had approved an upgrade of the existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft. Notably, the deal was approved at a time when India was engaged in a bitter border standoff with China. The tension between the two nuclear-powered nations continue to remain tense.
Giving a push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country. the CCS headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 13 January approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs 45,696 crore along with the design and development of infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 1,202 crore.
Light combat aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft. This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of IAF.