MiG-29K, Sole Carrier-based Fighter, Riddled With Problems: CAG

The MiG-29K is the front-line fighter jet for INS Vikramaditya, India’s reliable warship.

Updated
India
2 min read
A MiG-29K aircraft prepares to take off at INS Hansa. (Photo: <a href="http://indiannavy.nic.in/content/mig-29k">Indian Navy</a>)

MiG-29K, the fighter jet supplied by Russia is the Indian Navy’s backbone in many ways. The front-line fighter jet for India’s reliable warship, INS Vikramaditya, the jet allows the Navy to have a strong presence even far away from the coastlines.

However, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said it’s in such poor working condition that it isn’t available for use as often as it is required.

On Tuesday, in a report to the parliament, the CAG rapped the government over the deal for buying the aircraft for the Navy, calling it an “avoidable expenditure”.

Defence Minister AK Antony commissioned the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 303, the first MiG-29K squadron of the Indian Navy at INS Hansa in Goa. (Photo: <a href="http://indiannavy.nic.in/content/mig-29k">Indian Navy</a>)
Defence Minister AK Antony commissioned the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 303, the first MiG-29K squadron of the Indian Navy at INS Hansa in Goa. (Photo: Indian Navy)

The report said the aircraft was “riddled with problems” and it was purchased despite having technical discrepancies.

The service life of the aircraft is 6,000 hours or 25 years (whichever is earlier) and with issues facing the MiG-29K/KUB, the operational life of the aircraft already delivered would be reduced.

In 2004 and 2010, India has acquired 45 of these fighter jets at the cost of approximately Rs 10,500 crores.

MiG-29K in flight. (Photo: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/search?f=images&amp;vertical=news&amp;q=MiG-29K&amp;src=typd">TrendsinIndia</a>)
MiG-29K in flight. (Photo: Twitter/TrendsinIndia)

The jet is the front-line fighter for not only INS Vikramaditya, but also for the carrier Vikrant, which is currently being built in Kochi, and potentially for Vishal, another aircraft carrier which is still in its nascent stage.

According to the CAG report, since 2010, when the MiG-29K plane was inducted, more than half of its engines have coughed up basic design-related issues.

The MiG-29 has also fared poorly during the dangerous process of landing on the narrow deck of an aircraft carrier.

On touchdown, the plane has often encountered trouble with an arrester hook which “snags a wire” on the Vikramaditya deck.

Senior Navy officials said they had little say in the matter since the MiG-29K was purchased from Russia in a “package deal” which comprised the transfer and refurbishment of the aircraft carrier Gorshkov, which the Navy has re-christened the INS Vikramaditya, reported NDTV.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS and NDTV.)

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