NEW DELHI, March 14 APP:
Alarming signals triggered in Indian Air force after the grounding of major
chunk of MIGs by Russia due to structural defects as India operates three MiG-29
squadrons along the western front.
“We have received no word from
Russia. We are continuing to fly our MiG-29s from Halwara and Jamnagar,” Times
of India quoting a senior IAF officer said.
Russian has reportedly grounded
about 100 MiG-29s out of three hundred in its arsenal by declaring
them unsafe to fly during ongoing checks. Algeria had last year returned its 15
MiG-29s to Russia holding that that their quality was poor.
The decision to ground them was
taken when a couple of them crashed in southern Siberia in October-December due
to the disintegration of their tail fins.
The India Air Force with its
big fleet of MIGs operates over 60 MiG-29s.
“Times of India” reported the
Indian Navy is soon to get 16 MiG-29Ks’ the fighter’s naval variant designed to
operate from an aircraft carrier’s deck” as part of the original $1.5 billion
package deal signed with Russia in 2004 for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov,
Russia is preparing for India.
The daily quoting sources said
a an Indian navy team recently returned empty-handed from Moscow When Russia
postponed the delivery of 16 MiG-29Ks due to grounding of its own MiG-29s.
The IAF is already facing “a
huge dip” in the number of its fighter squadrons, down to just 32 from the
“sanctioned strength” of 39.5.
The IAF had inducted over 70
twin-engined MiG-29s from 1986 onwards but it has lost lost several of them in
crashes, though these fighters are not as accident-prone as the single-engined
MiG-21s or the recently phased out MiG-23s.
The daily said six IAF MiG-29s
are currently in Russia for a mid-life upgrade under a huge $964 million
contract signed in March 2008.