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Friday Video: The MiG-29 – the second line air superiority fighter of the Indian Air Force – Bangalore Aviation

Friday Video: The MiG-29 – the second line air superiority fighter of the Indian Air Force

While many are familiar with the front line air superiority fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, the MiG-29 Baaz (meaning Hawk) has remained in relative obscurity with the public. A further development of the MiG-29 is the MiG-35 which was a contender for the 126 MMRCA tender of the IAF.

India was the first international customer of the MiG-29. The IAF placed an order for more than 50 MiG-29s in 1980 while the aircraft was still in its initial development phase.

Indian MiG-29s were used extensively during the 1999 Kargil War to provide fighter escort for Mirage 2000s which were used for ground attack. It is rumoured that two MiG-29s from the No. 47 squadron the Black Archers gained beyond visual range (BVR) missile lock on two F-16s Falcons of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) which were patrolling close to the border, but did not engage because of a lack of an official war declaration.

Impressed by the performance of MiG-29 the IAF has decided to upgrade all 69 aircraft in its fleet to the MiG-29SMT variant. The upgrade program will fit the MiGs with a phased array radar (PESA), will include latest avionics, Zhuk-ME Radar, engine, weapon control systems etc., and in-flight re-fuelling capability, enhancing the multi-role capabilities of the aircraft.

In January 2010, India and Russia signed a US$1.2 billion deal under which the Indian Navy would acquire 29 additional MiG-29Ks, bringing the total number of MiG-29Ks on order to 45. The MiG-29K entered service with the Indian Navy on 19 February 2010.

Happy weekend everybody.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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