Indian Navy gets its first MiG 29 K- supersonic fighter jets squadron
India has the right to build and develop its border infrastructure and would continue to shore up its capabilities, says the government.
Defence Minister AK Antony told the mediapersons, "India has to maintain an edge over its adversaries in defence preparedness through the acquisition of new technology and better training of the personnel, given the fact that the security scenario in the region is changing at a rapid pace."
He was addressing mediapersons after commissioning the first MiG-29 K - supersonic fighter jets squadron into the Indian Navy at the INS Hansa in Goa.
The defence minister made a special reference to the Sea Lanes of Communication which are vital for trade. "The protection of SLOCs is becoming more and more important. Economic development, trade and commerce everything depends on security of SLOCs," he said.
India has about 45 MiG-29K which have cost the exchequer $2.4 billion (over Rs. 13,200 crore). A squadron each will be positioned on board INS Vikramaditya and the indigenously-made aircraft carrier - INS Vikrant - that is expected to be launched on August 12, 2013. The MoD had signed a `2,500 crore deal in 2004 for the first batch of the 16 MiG-29K fighter jets along with aircraft carrier Admiral Gorkshkov (INS Vikramaditya).
This is the first-induction of fighters in the Navy since the Sea Harriers were commissioned in early 1980s.
The commissioning of the MiG-29 K squadron is only the first in a series of new inductions. Next week the Navy expects the first US-made P8i surveillance aircraft to touch down on INS Rajali in Araconam in southern part of Tamil Nadu. The Navy is also contracting an unspecified number of Unnamed Aerial Vehicles from Israel. Then, its Fleet Air Arm plans to double its number platforms, which currently stands at about 220.