Russia has handed a commercial offer to India to deliver 21 MiG-29 fighter jets, Valeria Reshetnikova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said.
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India’s council for defense purchases approved last year the acquisition of 21 Russia’s MiG-29 fighters, among other aircraft.
The Russian federal service said in February that the Indian government also decided in favor of purchasing the aircraft, adding the Indian air force is now set to make a decision on relevant bidding procedures.
“The Indian Air Force staff received a tender request for the supply of 21 aircraft in 2021. The Russian side has transferred to Indian partners the commercial offer that is now being considered by the customer,” Reshetnikova told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of the MAKS-2021 international aerospace show.
Last year amid the India-China border clash in Galwan Valley, India’s Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) had approved the proposal to acquire 21 Russia’s MiG-29 fighters and 12 Su-30 MKI planes, and upgrade the 59 MiG-29 fighters purchased previously.
“Addressing the long-felt need of the Indian Air Force to increase its fighter squadrons, the DAC also approved the proposal for procurement of 21 MIG-29 along with up-gradation of existing 59 Mig-29 aircraft and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft. While the MIG 29 procurement and up-gradation from Russia is estimated to cost Rs 7418 Cr [$991 million], the Su-30 MKI will be procured from HAL [Hindustan Aeronautics Limited] at an estimated cost of Rs 10730 Cr [$1.43 billion],” the Indian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Many experts had also questioned India’s logic to go with MiG-29s instead of the latest Rafale fighter jets. Aviation expert Tom Cooper has expressed his astonishment that the Indian air force wanted more Su-30s and MiG-29s to meet its emergency requirement for a couple of squadrons worth of jets.
According to Cooper writing for the Forbes, the Su-30, while apparently effective on paper, lacks performance and combat capability compared and is not an ideal choice for mountain patrol.
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He also points out that the Sukhoi Su-30 jets had failed to impress during the war in Kargil war in 1999 and Balakot Airstrikes in 2019 and instead the old Mirage-2000s had proven to be more efficient and reliable.
Speaking about the Mig 29, Cooper said that while it performs better than the Su-30 MKIs, it is still not the perfect option for the Indian Air Force. The MiG-29s that India plans to acquire from Russia are outdated models that Russian workers will refurbish before handing over and they are simply not up to the task.
With Inputs from Sputnik News Agency