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The Indian Navy is embarking on a significant modernization program for its fleet of MiG-29K fighter jets, partnering with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) for a crucial upgrade: the integration of a cutting-edge GAN-based Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

This marks a shift towards self-reliance, as the radar is under development for the IAF’s Tejas MkII program and will be customized for the Mig-29K with minimal changes.

The upgrade program includes incorporating a new Mission Computer (MC) into the Mig-29K. This enables the integration of new local and non-Russian weapons systems, expanding the jet’s combat potential. These upgrades provide the Navy with greater flexibility and control over its fighter fleet, reducing dependence on foreign technology and suppliers.

The TEDBF (Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter) program aims to replace the Mig-29K fleet starting from 2035-40. This program will see the development of a new fighter jet specifically designed for the Navy’s maritime operations. The TEDBF program’s radar will be a customized version of the Navy’s GAN-based AESA radar, further tailored for maritime missions with enhanced capabilities for tracking and engaging naval targets.

The Indian Navy’s Mig-29K upgrade program is a multi-pronged approach towards modernizing its fighter fleet. By injecting domestic technology and advanced radar systems, the Navy is not only enhancing its operational capabilities but also fostering self-reliance in critical defence technologies. This strategic move positions the Navy for a future with greater operational autonomy and a robust combat edge.

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