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'Russia to modernise Indian MiGs'

Russia's MiG aircraft corporation signs a $1 bn contract with India to upgrade 64 MiG-29 fighters it had previously sold to India.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2008 16:15 IST

Russia's MiG aircraft corporation has signed a $1 billion contract with India to upgrade 64 MiG-29 fighters it had previously sold to the country, Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.

It quoted a source in the Russian defence manufacturing sector as saying the deal was signed last week in New Delhi. MiG could not immediately be contacted for comment.

Under the deal the jets will be equipped with new Russian-made radio equipment and radar to extend their life cycle by 15 years. The modernisation will be completed in two or three years, Interfax said.

India, along with China, is the leading buyer of Russian arms, including warplanes. But in the past few years, leading U.S. and European arms producers have started challenging Russia on the lucrative Indian market.

They are now gearing up to compete for a potential $10.2 billion contract to supply the Indian air force with 126 new multi-role fighter aircraft.

Military analysts have said improving the servicing of the Russian jets already sold to India would help improve Russia's chances of landing the larger contract.