India Buys 33 More Russian Aircraft

$2.43 Billion for 21 MiG-29 and 12 Su-30MKI

On 2 July the Indian MoD – which has now become the world’s largest single arms importer – authorised the purchase of 21 MiG-29 and 12 Su-30MKI, to supplement the 59 MiG-29s and 272 Sukhoi aircraft currently in inventory. MON understands that the contract is valued at $2.43 billion (€2.16 billion), that the MiGs will be former Russian Air Force aircraft to be refurbished in Russia and that the Sukhois will be license-built in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The aircraft will provide badly-needed augmentation of the nation’s depleted fighter squadron, the strength of which has fallen from an authorised full strength complement of 42 to 28, with some units reporting available airframe numbers as low as 18, according to Indian media reports. The Air Force is expecting its first 4-6 RAFALEs to arrive from France within the next several weeks, but there has been no public acknowledgement of a firm delivery date for the balance of the 36-aircraft batch agreed in 2016.

The MoD is said to have also approved indigenous development of missile systems for all three armed services, as well as upgraded infantry combat vehicles and ammunition for the army.

India’s relations with Pakistan, with which it has been fighting a border dispute in Kashmir for over 30 years, hit a new low after India unilaterally changed the political status of the part of Kashmir it controls last year. In addition, India is now facing significant tensions with China, with which there has been skirmishing in the Ladakh region since May.

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