Russia has delivered the first three upgraded MiG-29UPG fighter jets to India under a USD 900 million contract to modernise the ageing fleet of MiG-29 aircraft with the IAF, the MIG corporation has announced.
"The MiG corporation has started deliveries of upgraded MiG-29UPG fighter jets to the Indian Air Force," the company said in a statement.
"The first three aircraft have been transported to India on board an AN-124 heavy-lift transport plane," the statement said.
The IAF has awarded the MiG corporation a USD 900 million contract to upgrade all of its 69 operational MiG-29s.
These upgrades include a new avionics kit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by a Phazatron Zhuk-M radar. The aircraft is also being equipped to enhance beyond-visual-range combat ability and for air-to-air refuelling to increase flying time.
The service life of the modernised aircraft has been extended to 40 years, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
The first six aircraft are upgraded in Russia while the remaining 63 will be refitted at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in India.
In 2007, Russia gave HAL a license to manufacture 120 RD-33 series 3 turbojet engines for the upgrade.
"We are getting ready to carry out the work on the second part of the contract, which stipulates the modernisation of the [MiG-29] aircraft in India in close cooperation with the Indian defence industry," the MiG press service said.