Ahead of India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharamans’ visit to Moscow, Russia has offered the sale of 21 Mig-29 fighter aircraft to India to support IAF’s depleting fleet.
The offer came at a crucial time when the Indian Air Force is struggling to achieve the sanctioned combat squadrons to fight a two-front war. India has at present, 32 combat ready squadrons but will fall to 27 if India doesn’t induct new fighters to replace the ageing Mig-21 and Mig-27. IAF at present requires 42 combat squadrons to work as a deterrence for a two-front war.
India already operates a large fleet of Mig-29 aircraft and makes up three squadrons (Squadron 28, Squadron 47 and Squadron 223). However, Squadron 47 and 223 operate the upgraded version of Mig-29. Speculations are made that Russia may offer the Mig-29 SMT which is the most advanced version of Mig-29 aircraft.