Even as New Delhi has eyed the American-designed Lockheed Martin F-35, the Indian military still uses a lot of Russian technology—a fact that is unlikely to change.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is now reportedly planning to order thirty-three additional fighters including twenty-one MiG-29 supersonic fighter jets from Russia. The news was first reported in the EconomicTimes of India, which noted that these aircraft would replace the IAF’s aging MiG-21 fighters—and of the new aircraft two would-be trainers.
Russia has been working with the IAF to support the modernization of the MiG-29 fighter, and those upgrades will improve the jet aircraft’s combat capabilities and enable the fighter to integrate new weapons and technologies. The modernization is expected to increase the service life of the aircraft platform by up to forty years.
The additional aircraft would be a dozen Sukho Su-30 MkI multi-role fighter jets—which now form the backbone of the IAF, bringing the total number of the fifth-generation fighters to 284.