INDIA BUYS MIG 29K FIGHTERS
By Bulbul Singh
Jan 10. Russia regains its position as the top supplier of arms and equipment to India with the Indian Navy deciding to buy 29 additional MiG 29K fighters worth $1.2bn.
The Indian Navy has decided to buy 29 MiG 29K aircraft despite a global Request for Information (RFI) floated last month to buy additional fighters. The purchase will be in addition to the 16 MiG 29K’s contracted in 2004.
The Indian Navy exercised the option clause in the 2004 agreement worth $700m, to buy the 29 aircraft, under which the new aircraft will also be supplied at the agreed contracted price agreed in 2004. India will buy the 29 aircraft on a government-to-government basis. There is an option in the contract to supply an additional 30 fighters by 2015, admitted the Indian defence ministry official but did not confirm whether India would exercise the option to buy more of the MiG 29K aircraft. Last month the Indian Navy floated a global Request for Information(RFI)for aircraft. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.12 ISSUE 02, 07 January 2010, INDIAN NAVY ENTERS GLOBAL MARKET TO BUY FIGHTERS)
The Indian Navy has yet to receive the delivery of the 16 MiG 29-K aircraft contracted in 2004; these will be used on the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshokov, whose delivery has been rescheduled from 2008 to 2012.
The first batch of four MiG 29K aircraft originally slated for the Admiral Gorshkov, will now be stationed on the aviation base at Goa, which currently operates Sea Harriers.
Russia which had been the top supplier of weapons and equipment to India for over thirty years, was overtaken by Israel as the top supplier since 2005. The December 2009 Summit in Moscow will bring Russia to the top slot as the main supplier of weaponry. India has decided to pay $2.3bn for the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshokov which is nearly $1.45bn more than agreed in 2004. Besides, the two countries are to jointly build a Fifth Generation Aircraft involving a cost of $10bn, besides a joint development of a Medium Transport Aircraft. The Akula class nuclear submarine built by Russia for India for over $1bn will also be inducted this year.
Russia is building three stealth missile frigates for the Indian Navy at the Yantar shipyard in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad as part of a $1.6bn contract signed in July, 2006 and will be armed with the Indo-Russian developed 300 kilometre range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile enhancing the blue water capabilities of the Indian Navy. Russia previously built in 2004 three Krivak class frigates – INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar – for India.
Under a $795m deal, 310 T-90 tanks were procured from Russia, of which 124 were acquired off-the-shelf and another 186 imported in a semi knocked down condition for assembling in Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in Avadi near Chennai. In 2007 the Indian Army had given a fresh order for the additional purchase of 330 T90 tanks, another 1000 T90 tanks will be license produced by 2020 at Indian facilities.
Though Russia remained India’s largest military supplier for a long time, huge cost escalations and time overruns in several defence projects had become a major irritant in the relations between both the nations.