HAL signs deal for local manufacture of MiG-29 RD33 engines

New Delhi: Through a deal, which ups the stakes in the upcoming 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) tender for the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will manufacture advanced RD33 fighter jet engines for the Indian air force's (IAF) MiG-29 fleet.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherhjee said Thursday that the deal, worth $250 million, would be formailsed during the visit of Russian deputy prime minister and defence minister, Sergei Ivanov, in New Delhi on January 23-24. According to reports, an understanding in this regard has been arrived at between state-run HAL and Russia's Rosoboronexport agency.

Under the deal HAL would manufacture 120 RD33 series three engines at its Koraput plant to upgrade IAFs MiG-29 fighter fleet. The deal, according to analysts, would help HAL master the assembly of next generation jet engines, including the RD-33MK engines meant for deck-based MiG-29K naval fighters being acquired by the Indian Navy as part of the Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya) aircraft carrier deal.

The engine deal would also enable HAL to develop thrust-vectoring engines (OVT) for the MiG-35 fighter, which is in contention for the $9 billion dollar IAF MRCA tender.