Moscow: Russia has begun work on the second phase of the construction and assembly of MiG-29K naval fighters for India. It has already delivered eleven MiG-29K fighters, out of a contracted total of 16, which will form the fighting arm of a refurbished aircraft carrier being supplied by Russia.
The Russian carrier, Adm Gorshkov, will be delivered to the Indian Navy by the end of next year.
"We have already delivered 11. Five more will be delivered by the end of the year," Sergei Korotkov, head of the MiG corporation said Wednesday.
Russia signed a contract in 2004 to supply 16 MiG-29K/KUB jets as part of its agreement to modernise the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian Navy. Assembly has now begun on the second part of the contract for 29 additional fighters.
''Two years ago, India requested us to demonstrate the landing of MiG-29K/KUB fighter jets on a carrier cruiser and their attacking capability under a contract signed to purchase 16 aircraft. When we fulfilled it successfully, India gave the green light to deliver them. The corporation has supplied more than half of the consignment and the fighter jets are being used in India. They have over one thousand flight hours altogether. We will supply all aircraft under the contract by the end of the year. We signed another contract with India to supply 29 fighter jets. Today, we launched assembling these aircraft and started carrying out the second stage of the contract,'' Sergei Korotkov said.
The MiG-29K/KUB was originally developed under a request submitted by the Indian ministry of defence. This is a 4++ generation fighter jet that has an advanced air frame made out of composite materials.
In March 2010, the countries signed an additional $1.5 billion deal for 29 more MiG fighter jets. The second contract brings the total number of fighters to be delivered to the Indian Navy at 45.
Russia has started work on the order, and the first jet was presented to an Indian representative in the assembly workshop, Korotkov said Wednesday.
Delivery of the second batch of jets as well as the carrier will start in 2012.
Work has also commenced on the upgrade of Indian Air Force MiG-29's which has some 60-odd such fighters in its inventory.
''At present, we are modernizing Mig-29 fighter jets supplied earlier. We delivered more than 60 such aircraft. During the first stage four aircraft are being modernized in Moscow and another two in Nizhny Novgorod. At the same time, we will deliver modernization technology to India, and the corporation will supply complete sets for assembling,'' said Vladimir Barkovsky, deputy director general of the MiG Corporation.
Though India is signing an increasing number of defence deals with Western powers, the bulk of its defence supplies are still provided by Russia.