New Delhi: The Indian Navy will induct the first lot of four Russian MiG-29K naval combat jets, meant for deployment onboard aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, on 19 February. The combat jets arrived last year, on 4 December, in a knocked-down condition.
"The jets have been assembled and the Russian pilots are flying them. It is a standard procedure. Very soon Indian Navy pilots will take over from them," senior Indian Navy officers said.
The jets have been supplied under the original $1.5 billion deal signed with Russia in January 2004 for the refit and supply of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and 16 MiG-29K fighters.
The original 2004 contract had visualised India paying $974 million for the ship's refit and an additional $600 million for the supply of 16 MiG-29K fighters. Massive undervaluation done by the Russians at the time of the signing of the contract, cost increases in materials, additional work requirements as sought by the Indian Navy, all together pushed the refit programme way beyond its original price.
Both sides have now agreed upon a new contract, which is estimated to be in the region of $2.3 billion.
The Indian Navy has, this last month, also agreed to purchase an additional lot of 29 MiG-29K fighters, at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.