When will India export BrahMos and Tejas
NEW DELHI: India is officially moving forward to procure 21 MiG-29 and 12 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters from Russia along with upgrades to their existing fleets, after the Cabinet Security Committee approved the production of 83 domestic Tejas jets last week.
For starters, the RFP (Request for Proposal) for the 21 MiG-29 fighters, whose bare airframes have been in a mothballed state in Russia since the late 1980s, will soon be issued to Russian state defense export arm Rosoboronexport, Defense sources said on Sunday.
By purchasing these MiG-29s at “relatively low prices”, 59 such jets will be added to the IAF. The 12 Sukhoi 30MKIs will in turn contribute to the 272 such jets, which have already been signed from Russia for around $ 15 billion. Most of it is licensed from Hindustan Aeronautics. The IAF has so far added 268 of the original 272 Sukhois, with at least nine of them lost in accidents over the years.
Along with the 83 new Tejas that will be launched between January 2024 and December 2028 as part of the CCS-approved crore deal of 46,898 rupees, the additional MiG-29s and Sukhois are set to free-fall in the number of IAF -Continue fighter squadrons.
With the gradual phasing out of the obsolete MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27, the force has dropped to only about 30 squadrons (each has 16 to 18 jets), when at least 42 are required to combat the "collusive" threat China and Pakistan. The remaining 4 MiG-21 bison squadrons are also expected to retire by 2024.
The Department of Defense first awarded the purchase of 21 MiG-29s with the latest avionics and electronic warfare suites last July, as well as upgrading the 59 existing jets to "ensure commonality across the fleet" for one price from 7,418 rupees crore.
The cost of 12 new two-seat Sukhois, plus advanced electronic warfare features, and additional supplies and replacement parts was estimated at 10,730 rupees.
While 42 Sukhois are now being modified to carry the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles with precision impact, the entire fleet will then be "fully expanded" with more advanced avionics, radars and weapons to further enhance their combat capabilities.
The IAF also plans to obtain “Acceptance of Necessity” for its long-term mega-project “Make in India” for 114 new fighters for over US $ 20 billion from April to May under the “Strategic Partnership” policy.
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