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Russian Navy will probably buy 24 MiG-29K fighters designed for India

24.09.2009 Source: RIA Novosti

Russian Navy plans to purchase 24 deck-based fighters MiG-29K which development was financed by India to arm the only Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, wrote Vedomosti on Thursday.

Informed source in Ministry of Defense said to the newspaper that the contract of fighters' procurement would be probably signed in the nearest two years.

The plans to buy fighters were also confirmed by general designer of one of the MIC companies producing devices for those fighters. The representative of RSK MiG withholded comments.

The newspaper remarks that the procurement is simplified by the fact that they were designed by order of India under the sale contract of being customized Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (former Admiral Gorshkov). Indian party contractually paid $730 mln for development and delivery of 16 fighters; the cost of 24 aircrafts for Russian Navy may be estimated as $1 bln, says Konstantin Makienko, the expert of Analytic Center of Strategies and Technologies.

According to the source in aviation industry, tests of MiG-29K with landing on Admiral Kuznetsov are planned to be conducted this autumn.

As per the newspaper, if the procurement contract of Mig-29K is signed it will be the third delivery contract of new combat aircrafts for Russian military signed at recent year after delivery contracts of 32 Su-34 bombers, 34 Mig-29 SMT/UBT previously ordered by Algeria and 64 Su-27SM / Su-30M2 / Su-35 fighters.

Currently, there are 19 Su-33 deck-based fighters in Russian naval aviation (the only fighter serially produced for Russian Armed Forces in 1992-1996), but their service life will be expired by 2015; therefore, the issue of their replacement is actual nowadays, said the source in the Ministry of Defense.

Production of new Su-33 is possible but unprofitable if production volume is small; and production of Mig-29K, considering 16 aircrafts ordered by India and potential 28 fighters to be delivered to this country, is much more economic value-added, says Makinenko. According to him, this cheapens the series and saves money for development.

Kuznetsov itself, in the case of appropriation of wherewithal for overhaul, is capable to serve sufficient term to produce new aircrafts for it, supposes Mikhail Barabanov, naval expert. Deputy Minister of Defense Vladimir Popovkin said last week that the issue of construction of a new aircraft carrier is being discussed in the military authority but political decision as for this has not been made yet, reminds the newspaper.

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