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India to buy 42 combat aircraft from Russia

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BRAHMOS missile integrated with Su-30 MKI on display during the 80th Air Force Day celebrations at the Air Force Station in Hindon on 8 October 2012. . A PTI photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): India is all set to procure 42 Su-30 MKI combat aircraft and 71 medium-lift helicopters from Russia.

The issue was discussed during meeting between Defence Minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov here and an agreement in this regard is expected to be signed during the visit of President Vladimir Putin on November 1, sources told PTI here on Wednesday.

The 42 Su-30MKIs will add to the firepower of the Indian Air Force and after this, the number of these aircraft will be around 272, they said.

During the meeting, the two sides were also understood to have discussed the upgrade programme of the existing inventory of these aircraft in the IAF.

The discussion for procurement of 71 Mi-17 V5 helicopters for the IAF and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was also discussed during the meeting today.

Under the procurement, India will buy 59 choppers for the IAF whereas the remaining will be used by the MHA and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) most probably for anti-Naxal operations.

This will be a repeat order for the Mi-17 V5 from India which has already inducted four squadrons of the choppers and is expected to induct a couple more by the end of this year.

The Russian side also showed interest in working for the upgrade programme of the BMP Infantry Combat Vehicle procured by India during the Soviet era.

Under the upgrades, the Army wants the vehicles to be armed with missiles and the engines of the vehicles to be more powerful.

India is the largest customer for Russian military hardware and it has over 60 per cent of its inventory from that country.

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