Indian Navy Inducts More MiG-29Ks
Defence Minister A K Antony has announced in the Parliament that 15 Russian MiG-29K fighters have been inducted in the Indian Navy. These MiG-29K fighters have been inducted for carrier-borne operations and will operate from INS Vikramaditya once it is inducted in December 2012.
The MiG-29K series of fighters will also operate from the other aircraft carrier INS Viraat. In 2004, India had placed an order to the tune of US$ 650 million for 16 MiG-29Ks to be used from INS Vikramaditya which is being refurbished by Russia. Another order for US$ 1.5 billion was placed in early 2010 to purchase the 29 additional MiG-29Ks.
The MiG-29K has only been exported to India for use on the refitted Russian-built carrier INS Vikramaditya. The MiG-29K is a naval variant of the MiG-29 land-based fighter and has folding wings, an arrester tail-hook, strengthened airframe and multirole capability. The fighter can be equipped with various air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. The MiG-29K will be in concurrent service with the Russian Navy. India operates sixteen out of a total of forty MiG-29K planned for acquisition. The newly designed and upgraded MiG-29K prototype was first revealed by Russia in 2007. The new MiG-29K come in two versions: the single-seat MiG-29K and the two-seat MiG-29KUB.
The MiG-29K is equipped with the new Zhuk-E radar, which can detect up to ten targets at a time and engage four of them. The MiG-29K is also equipped with an electronic counter measures suite and the pilot is equipped with a helmet-mounted targeting system. The MiG-29K is powered by two RD-33MK engines and has a maximum endurance of 850 kilometers.