After the recent crash of an Indian MiG-29 fighter aircraft in Russia, the Indian Navy had demanded that these planes be grounded, but the Air Force thinks otherwise. The crashed MiG-29 was one of the four trainer versions of the jets that India had ordered in 2004.
The Air Force has decided to upgrade the MiGs in Russia, and a couple of them are reaching the country.
Air Marshal Pramod Vasant Athawale, AOC-in-C of the Maintenance Command of the Air Force who is on a two-day inspection of the 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) Air Force station in Chandigarh, told HT on Tuesday, “We are going ahead with the upgradation work in Russia and we will be receiving a couple of aircraft next month. The work is in full swing and we have not asked for the fighter jets to be grounded.”
Elaborating on the MiG-29 sent to Russia for upgradation, Air Marshal Athawale said that after upgradation, the entire fleet would become more formidable. “The upgraded fleet will have improved radar and weapon designs. Five fighter jets are being upgraded in Russia in the first phase. Their estimate lifespan is 40 years,” he said.
The Air Force has also started a drive of upgrading and maintaining the machines and jets at all BRD stations across the country. Air Marshal Athawale said the Air Force was working on extending the life of several aircraft parts. “The older aircraft in the country definitely need attention and we have started overhauling them,” he said.
The IAF is observing this year as the year of maintenance. All its BRDs are going through a modernisation process.