By one measure more than 32 years in the making, India’s new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, departed Severodvinsk harbor on June 8 and sailed into the White Sea for trials, including takeoffs and landings of Mikoyan MiG-29K/KUB fighters and Kamov Ka-27 helicopters.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) finally awarded the Russian Aircraft Corporation a firm order for 24 MiG-29 carrier-capable fighters. MiG will deliver 20 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four MiG-29KUB two-seaters between 2013 and 2015. The Russian Navy stated its intention to introduce the MiG-29K two years ago, but the order was not confirmed until now.
Making a welcome first appearance in Singapore skies, the Smokey Bandits display team is showcasing “Malaysia’s MiGs”–five MiG-29N fighters that are performing an eight-minute routine here at the show.
The prototype MiG-29K (side number 311) was loaded by crane onto India’s new aircraft carrier in Severodvinsk last month. The Sevmash Dockyard said that work to convert the former Russian cruiser Gorshkov is 90 percent complete.
The JF-17 Thunder fighter, co-developed by China’s Avic and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), is to receive improvements that will start being produced with the Block-2 version from next year.
Russia’s first stealth fighter, the Sukhoi T-50, made its public debut last week at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011), where Russian air force commander General Alexander Zelin gave an update on this and other re-equipment programs. The two T-50 prototypes flew in formation, before one gave a restrained solo display.
The recent Aero India show was a magnet for many international aerospace companies that are chasing various Indian procurements. In the airlift category, Lockheed Martin delivered the first of six C-130Js that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will use especially for the transport of special forces. The manufacturer signed a joint venture with Tata to produce C-130J airframe parts, amid suggestions that the IAF might buy another six Hercules.
In the same week that the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft made its international debut at the Farnborough airshow, the product of this co-development between China and Pakistan was offered to Indonesia. The Pakistan Defence Minister signed a defense cooperation agreement with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta.
Russia’s defense industry is looking both to compete and cooperate with its western European counterparts as it bids to expand its international customer base.
Indian navy pilots and support crew have started training on the MiG-29K/KUB fighters with RAC MiG in Russia. The first of the aircraft ordered by India are due to enter service this autumn and the air crew have already flown serial-produced models.