Amid the ongoing row with China in Eastern Ladakh, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has pushed a proposal to the government for acquiring 33 new fighter aircraft, including 21 MiG-29s and 12 Su-30MKIs from Russia.
“The Air Force has been working on this plan for some time but they have now fast-tracked the process and the proposals expected to be worth over Rs 6,000 crore would be placed before the Defence Ministry for its final approval next week at a high-level meeting,” government sources told ANI here.
The proposal includes the acquisition of 12 Su-30 MKIs that would be required for replacing the number of aircraft lost by the Air Force in different accidents, they said.
India had placed orders for 272 Su-30 fighter jets over a period of 10 to 15 years in different batches and senior officers feel that the number of planes acquired so far would be enough for the service’s heavy-weight aircraft requirement.
The 21 MiG 29s that the IAF is planning to acquire are from Russia which has offered to sell these planes to help the Air Force to meet its requirement of new fighters.
The Air Force has also carried out a study to check if the airframe of the MiG-29s on offer are good enough for it to operate for a long time and they have been found to be in almost new condition.
MiG-29s are flown by the Air Force and the pilots are familiar with it but the ones offered by the Russians are different from the ones in the Indian inventory.
The Air Force has three squadrons of the MiG-29s which have been undergoing upgrades for extended life and are considered reliable in the air defence roles.
India and China have been locked in a dispute after the Chinese troops carried out military build-up along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, where they have deployed over 10,000 troops.