IAF examining MiG-29s for corrosion

MiG-29 in formation. An IAF photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): The Indian Air Force (IAF) is conducting tests on MiG-29s after receiving an alert from Russia that there may be some problems in the metal used in the airframe.

A senior IAF official has been quoted as saying that ultra sound examination of certain components of the MiG-29 was being carried out to evaluate the problem of erosion of some metal parts.

A similar problem was witnessed in a batch of MiG-29s in the Russian Air Force. RAC MiG, the manufacturers of MiG-29 air superiority combat aircraft, had earlier claimed that it had informed IAF about the defect and also shared the methodology to inspect the airframe.

The problem pertained to the metal used in making the vertical stabilisers or fins. IAF operates three squadrons of MiG-29s. The Indian Navy has also ordered MiG-29 Ks for carrier operations.

The MiG-29s of IAF are undergoing major upgradation under a $964 million contract awarded to the Russians. The officials claimed there was no problem with the aircraft but examination was on to find out if defects have surfaced. Six MiG-29s were in Russia for the refit and mid-life upgradation. The officials admitted that there were signs of corrosion in some aircraft.

The officials claimed the defence ties with Russia continue to be strong and IAF is ready to acquire 80 new medium helicopters MI 17 V5. The first delivery is expected to begin in June 2010.

Russia had to recently ground a large number of MiG-29s after corrosion was seen in its metal parts. A comprehensive inspection of the fleet was carried out and the problem was found in at least 100 aircraft. RAC MiG had claimed these were the aircraft which had not been used for several years due to financial difficulties and claimed the rest of the fleet was fine and operational.

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