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MiG29k deliveries to begin next year: Russian official

NEW DELHI (PTI): Russia will start next year the delivery of MiG-29k fighter jets for the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov which India is in the process of acquiring from Moscow.

"We plan to begin delivery of MiG29k aircraft by spring next year," Mikhail T Globenko, India Director of Russian Aircraft Corporation-MiG told reporters here.

He said the delivery will be in batches of four aircraft and Russian plans to dispatch all aircraft by autumn.

Under the 2004 contract for the acquisition of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, India is to receive 12 single-seater MiG-29K and four two-seater MiG-29KUB with an option of ordering additional 30 fighters by 2015.

Globenko said training of Indian fighter pilots on MiG29k fighter jets has already commenced in Russia and engineers and technicians are also getting acquainted with the aircraft.

India can join in the design and development of twin seater fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), being built by the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), UAC President Alexey I Fedorov said.

He said Russia is building the single seater FGFA, which is expected to make its maiden flight next year.

Fedorov rubbished reports that Russia has hiked the price of the MiG-29k aircraft it has offered to India.

"MiG-29k price has not undergone any change," he said. Asked whether India has sought additional 30 MiG 29k jets, Fedorov pointed out that the contract with New Delhi has an option of ordering additional fighters by 2015. He said the Russian aircraft industry has been undergoing a major restructuring exercise with leading state-owned companies forming a joint stock company United Aircraft Corporation, which was set up through a presidential decree two years ago.

Fedorov said that UAC was planning to list on international stock markets in 2010 and did not rule out Indian companies picking up stake in the company.

"Any Indian company or portfolio investors are welcome to pick up stake once we list on international stock markets," he said.

Fedorov said UAC would like to have "some small" shareholding in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) whenever the state-owned company goes public.

"We have a lot of joint projects and shareholding in HAL will definitely be beneficial," he said adding, "it will be sufficient to have a small share." Describing India as a challenging market, the UAC president said that his company was now targeting to enter the civilian aircraft sector.

The UAC will display the Ilyushin-114 as also the Turbojet civilian aircraft in Hyderabad next month.

"As far as the civilian sector in India is concerned the engine market is very attractive," Fedorov said.

The Russian company is also developing the Sukhoi Superjet a 100-seater aircraft for the civilian sector as also the 200-seater MC-21.

While the Superjet-100 is expected to be unveiled in 2010, the MC-21 would be ready by 2015.

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