India approved the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 war planes at a cost of ₹18,148 crore |

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India approved the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 war planes at a cost of ₹18,148 crore

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India approved the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 war planes at a cost of ₹18,148 crore

In a signal of serious intent to Beinjing, India’s Defence Ministry on Thursday gave the green signal for procurement of 33 fighter jets, missile systems and other military hardware at a cost of Rs 38,900 crore.

21 MiG-29 fighter jets to be procured from Russia

12 Su-30 MKi aircraft to be bought from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)

upgrade of the existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft

248 ASTRA beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile systems

a significant number of long-range land-attack cruise missile systems with a range of 1,000 km

Pinaka missile systems and ammunition

Software-defined radios for the Army

BMP armament upgrades

The decision on these procurements comes close on the heels of the advance delivery of Rafale fighter jets from France.

These procurement decisions were taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh.

The DAC is India’s highest decision-making body on defence procurement.

In view of the current tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) the Defence Acquisition Council which met in New Delhi today has put its stamp of approval on the Indian Air Force’s proposal to procure 21 MIG-29, up-gradation of existing 59 Mig-29 aircraft and purchase of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft.

Financial Express Online last month had reported first that DAC was expected to approve the procurement of MiG-29 and the Su-30 MKI, to help enhance the dwindling strength of fighter squadrons in service.

These two procurement proposals have been under consideration for almost two years now. And, in view of the security situation in the region, the DAC has given a green signal for purchasing these.

Though the approval has been given today, it is still a long way off before the contracts are inked and their deliveries which will take a couple of years. The IAF already has both the MiG-29 and a fleet of Su-30 MKI in service.

The orders for the fighter jets as well as 248 indigenously developed beyond-visual-range ASTRA air-to-air missiles, with the capacity to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft during night or day—besides long-range land attack missile systems having a firing range of 1,000km are expected to come as a shot in the arm for India’s military, especially the Indian Air Force whose squadron strength is now down to 30 from the sanctioned 42.

“While the MiG-29 procurement and upgradation from Russia is estimated to cost ₹7,418 crore, the Su-30 MKI will be procured from HAL at an estimated cost of ₹10,730 crore,” the statement said.

In total, the defence acquisition council approved contracts worth ₹38,900 crore, of which ₹31,130 would be purchased locally including ammunition for Pinaka multiple rocket launcher, long-range land attack cruise missile and the Astra missiles for navy and air force.