Media speculation hints that India will finally ink a contract for the supply of 21 Mig-29UPG fighter jets that will be used to beef up combat squadrons of the Indian Air Force (IAF) when Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit India on December 6 for the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit.

India is procuring unused airframes of 21 Mig-29 jets that will be upgraded by HAL in India with UPG-level upgrades that will see D-29 EW suite made by DRDO and other Russian components, including radio-electronics and armaments. HAL has proposed to replace the current Russian supplied Zhuk M pulse doppler electronically scanned array radar with the locally developed Uttam AESA Fire Control Radar along with a New Mission Computer that HAL is developing for the Naval Mig-29K fleet.

HAL in collaboration with the Navy is working to develop a modified New Mission Computer for the Mig-29K fleet that will enable integration of the indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range Air to air missile along with with other locally made weapon systems like SAAW and BrahMos-NG the same has been proposed for the new 21 Mig-29UPG jets that IAF is procuring and if cleared by IAF then it will later tickle down to the about 60 MiG-29 fighters of the Indian Air Force that are already upgraded to the MiG-29UPG level.

The upgrade of the Indian Air Force’s MiG-29 fighters to the MiG-29UPG level will be completed in 2022, has been told that 21 Mig-29 will start coming from 2024 onwards as the aircraft upgrade kit will come from Russia. Upgraded Mig-29UPG fleet was deployed in the region of Ladakh that was awarded ‘Chief of Air Staff’s citation’ for providing excellent air defense as well as air-to-ground operations in the Northern sector and carried out extensive operations at high altitudes.

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