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MiG-29K fighters to operate from Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

| 2022

According to information published by Tass on August 29, 2022, the airpower of the first Indian indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will comprise Russian-made MiG-29K fighter jets for five-seven years. They will then be replaced by India-designed aircraft.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Indian MiG-29K abroad the Kiev-class aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Picture source: Indian Navy)

The Vikrant will operate MiG-29K until India designs its own double-engine fighter jets. It will take five-seven years. The Russian jets will operate from the aircraft carrier until India decides whether to procure French Rafale or US F-18.

The Vikrant will operate at least ten MiG-29K. The 262-meter-long aircraft carrier has a displacement of 45 thousand tons and develops a speed of 28 knots. The airpower comprises 30 aircraft.

About the MiG-29K fighter aircraft

The Mikoyan MiG-29K is a Russian all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft developed by the Mikoyan Design Bureau. The MiG-29K was developed in the late 1980s from the MiG-29M. Mikoyan describes it as a 4+ generation aircraft.

Production standard MiG-29Ks differ from prototypes in features such as a multi-function radar and several new cockpit displays; the adoption of HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) controls; the integration of RVV-AE (also known as R-77) air-to-air missiles, along with missiles for anti-ship and anti-radar operations; and several ground/strike precision-guided weapons.

The MiG-29K has two widely spaced RD-33MKs. The early prototypes were fitted with two RD-33K turbofan engines, each with an afterburner thrust of 86.3 kN (19,800 lb) and a possible take-off thrust of 92.2 kN (20,723 lbf) for shipborne operations. The RD-33MK engine features 7% higher power over the base RD-33, enabled by the usage of improved materials for the turbine blades.

The MiG-29K is armed with one GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. It can be fitted with laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles like Kh-25ML/25MP, Kh-29T, Kh-31G/31A anti-ship missile, Kh-35U anti-ship missile, and rockets. A-31P passive radar seeker missiles are used as anti-radiation missiles. It can be also armed with air-to-air missiles like the RVV-AE, R-27ER/ET, and R-73E. 

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