Indian Air Force (IAF) along with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to cancel earlier plans to procure 21 airframes that are in deep storage in Russia to be later upgraded with UPG Standard kit to boost its declining combat aircraft strength as per the latest media reports coming out of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) held recently.

IAF in 2020 had cleared the deal after inspecting the airframes that are in storage for the last 20 years after cancellation from an export customer and these airframes were never made into fully assembled jets due to which they were offered at a reasonable price.

In 2021, Russia had handed over to India a commercial offer to deliver 21 MiG-29 fighters that included UPG Standard kits that were to be upgraded locally by HAL. IAF has not spoken about why it decided to opt out and which aircraft it plans to procure to achieve its sanctioned squadron.

IAF operates three squadrons of the MiG-29A that were procured in the mid-’80s as a response to Pakistan acquiring F-16s from the United States and they were later upgraded to UPG Standard with extended service life, new engines, and avionics and are considered reliable in the air defense roles.

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