India to Purchase 20 Russian MiG-29 Jets: A Good Move?

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Even though New Delhi has its eye on America-designed Lockheed Martin F-35, the Indian military still uses a lot of Russian technology - a fact that is unlikely to change. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is now reported to be planning thirty-three additional fighters, including twenty-one MiG-29 supersonic fighters from Russia. The news was first published in the EconomicTimes of India, which found that these planes would replace the aging IAF MiG-21 fighters - and two prospective trainers from the new plane.
Russia has worked with the IAF to support the modernization of the MiG-29 fighter. These improvements will improve the jet plane's combat capabilities and allow the fighter to incorporate new weapons and technologies. The modernization is intended to extend the life of the aircraft platform by up to forty years.
The additional aircraft would be a dozen Sukho Su-30 MkI multi-purpose combat aircraft that now form the backbone of the IAF and increase the total number of fifth generation fighters to 284. These fighter planes could be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) in which the aircraft are built under license. The aircraft is tailored to Indian specifications and integrates Indian systems and avionics, but also includes French and Israeli subsystems. It shares many features with the Sukhoi Su-35 built in Russia.
Last year, a senior official at the government agency said it could close this year if no new orders were placed. There were concerns that this could have a domino effect that could result in four hundred local suppliers closing their doors. While this latest order from twelve additional fighters will keep the Nasik factory running next year, it will also produce eighty-three Tejas Light Combat Aircraft Mk 1A this year at HAL. This will be the largest Made in India project of its kind to date.
This agreement between New Delhi and Moscow comes into being as tensions on the Actual Control Line (LAC), the de facto border between India and China in the Kashmir region, continue to ease.
Indian military personnel will take part in the victory parade on Moscow's Red Square on June 24.
"India has confirmed its contingent to participate in the Victory Parade on June 24th. We are waiting impatiently for Indian soldiers to march across Red Square. We are currently negotiating with the Indian partners the practical aspects of the upcoming event," said the Russian ambassador in India, Nikolai Kudashev, told Russian state media last week, "Especially during the parade unit passage, the announcer will highlight India's contribution to the victory over fascism and the fact that Indian soldiers received the Red Star Orders in 1944."
The Indian military, which was in the service of the British military at the time, fought on numerous fronts during the Second World War, but also ensured the delivery of loads along the so-called southern Transiranian route of the rental lease program delivered Iraq to the Soviet Union.
The Victory Parade, which marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), was scheduled for May 9, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the novel corona virus in Russia. The date of June 24 coincided with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the legendary historic parade that took place on that day in 1945.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He is the author of several books on military headwear, including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.
Image: Reuters
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