Source : Firstpost
Indian Navy to replace MiG-29K fleet with indigenous TEDBF after 2035 due to quality concerns
New Delhi: Due to serious quality concerns with the fighter jets, which frequently necessitate recurrent inspections at regular intervals, the Indian Navy will retire the whole fleet of about 41 MiG-29K supersonic fighter aircraft by 2025.
The MiG-29K supersonic fighter aircraft will thus be put out of commission after less than 25 years in service.
With a life extension programme, the MiG-29K could have continued to serve the Indian Navy for another 10 to 15 years after its 25-year design life of 6,000 hours.
However, according to a report by Indian Defence Research Wing (IDRW), the Indian Navy has no such plans to extend the service life of its MiG-29K fleet which will be scrapped after retirement.
Since its introduction, the fleet’s serviceability has ranged from 21.30 to 47.14 percent, according to the 2016 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, with over 40 engines having to be removed owing to design-related flaws attributed to the Russian Military Complex’s subpar quality.
According to reports, the Indian Navy is unsure that the MiG-29K fleet will last beyond 2030 due to airframe flaws, discrepancies, and anomalies that will make flying risky as it ages further.
The Indian Navy plans to replace its Mig-29K fleet with 45 Twin Engine Deck Based Fighters (TEDBF), a “5th generation minus,” from 2035 onward.
The Indian Navy is reportedly looking to buy 26 Rafale M fighter jets before 2030 to ease pressure on its Mig-29K fleet. The contract might be signed in the next 18 months, and the agreement could be announced soon.
Why did the Indian Navy choose the Mig-29K?
Although India was the fighter jet’s second launch client after the Soviet Air Force, the Indian Navy had chosen the Mig-29K due to experience with the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has been flying 60 or so Mig-29A – which were later upgraded to UPG – since the late 1980s.
The Mig-29K is based on the “basic” MiG-29K airframe that was modified to be used by Soviet aircraft carriers as deck-based fighter aircraft.
However, the programme came to an abrupt end after the fall of the Soviet Union, and was only revived after India was given the Admiral Gorshkov allegedly free of charge.
However, India still had to pay $2.35 billion for the upgrade and refit of the aircraft carrier and another US$1 billion to acquire the aircraft and weapons systems.
The MiG-29K was given new life by the Indian Navy, and the fighter aircraft later made its way onto the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which at the time was only flying Su-33 Strike fighters.
Although the Indian Navy continues to maintain that it was the best option at the time, many believe that the Su-33, which the Russian Navy ultimately elected to replace in 2009 with the Mig-29K, would have been a better choice. IgMp Indian Navy to replace MiG-29K Indian Navy to replace MiG-29K