New Delhi (AP) — the defense Ministry of India on Thursday approved the purchase of 21 Russian MiG-29 and 12 su-30MKI aircraft worth $2.43 billion to strengthen its air force as the country faces security challenges on its borders with China and Pakistan.
The aircraft will complement 59 the MiG-29 and 272 aircraft Sukhoi currently in service.
The Ministry of defence also stated that the adopted local development of missile systems for all three armed forces as well as ammunition and modernized infantry fighting vehicles for the army.
India awaits the arrival of the first batch of 36 Rafale fighters ordered as part of a deal signed with France in 2016, “ready 8.78 billion dollars on-the-fly” condition, that is, they are made in France. India expects four to six aircraft “Rafale” will arrive in India later this month.
India became the largest arms importer in the world as it modernizes its armed forces. Major weapons manufacturers wooing the country as it replaces the obsolete Soviet weapons.
Rahul Bedi, an analyst on defense issues, said that the acquisition of Russian aircraft will allow to increase depleted numbers of air force fighter squadrons, which dropped to the approved total of 42 to 28. One squadron consists of 18 aircraft.
He said that 21 MiG-29 will be used aircraft that will be upgraded in Russia, while 12 su-30MKIs will be built under license by Indian state company “Hindustan Aeronautics”, Ltd.
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