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First upgraded MiG-29 to be delivered to India this year: UAC Chief

BANGALORE (BNS): Russia will deliver the first upgraded MiG-29 fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force this year, according to the country's United Aircraft Corporation chief Mikhail Pogasyan.

Russia’s MiG Corporation which is modernising 60 MiG-29 fighters for the IAF, will deliver the first aircraft in 2011, the UAC Chief told reporters at Aero India 2011 in Bangalore on Wednesday.

The first modernised MiG-29UPG underwent its maiden flight test on February 4.

India had awarded a contract to MiG in 2008 to upgrade the fighter planes. The contract entails upgrading the warplane from an interceptor and air superiority aircraft to a fighter-bomber capable of striking mobile and stationary targets on the ground and at sea with high-precision weapons under all weather conditions.

The first aircraft was scheduled to be delivered to India in March 2010.

About the delay in delivering the aircraft, Pogasyan said that since the upgradation programme included research work and trials, the overall project will take several years.

Briefing on the status of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme in which India is partnering Russia in designing and developing the aircraft, the newly-appointed CEO of UAC who also heads the Sukhoi Company, said, “We aim to finish the first phase of the project by first half of 2012 and show our customer (India) what has been achieved.”

Responding to a query on the access of technology to India in the FGFA project, he said, “Indian engineers have accessed good level of Russian technology in the MiG-27 and Su-30MKI fighter programmes.

“In FGFA, the technology transfer clause has been outlined in the contract we have signed with HAL in December last year,” Pogasyan said, thus emphasising that India would get fair amount of technology access in the stealth fighter programme.

India is planning to induct as many as 250 such fighters in its air force by 2017.

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