The MiG 29K fighter jets acquired from Russia by the Indian Navy suffer from operational faults making them hardly available for use, according to an audit report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General to the Parliament two days ago, as reported by NDTV.
The CAG report that audited the Navy’s MiG-29 programme further said that the MiG 29K jet riddled with problems, including engine malfunction, even in the best case scenario, “will be fully fit for operations less than 50 percent of the time it is required to be deployed.”
The fighter jet has suffered repeated engine failures, with at least 10 cases of single engine landings, reports Economic Times.
As per the reports in NDTV, the jet, which is deployed on India’s warship the INS Vikramaditya, is meant to be the front-line fighter for the carrier Vikrant, which is being built in Kochi, and possibly the Vishal, a third aircraft carrier still at the design stage.
The CAG also questioned the pace of construction of INS Vikrant, noting that it was at least five years behind schedule. While the set delivery date of the ship is December 2018, if looked at realistically, the expected date would be 2023, as reported by Defenseworld.net.
According to the NDTV report, India acquired 45 of these fighter jets for nearly 10,500 crores in 2004 and 2010. The CAG report also says that defects in the MiG 29K have occurred despite several modifications and design improvements, creating an adverse impact on the training of Navy pilots.
While a team of Russian engineers stationed in Goa work to resolve the issues with the jet, a senior Naval officer reveals that India is the first country to induct the MiG 29K fighter jets, ahead of Russian Navy as well.
Russia’s decision to replace its carrier-borne Sukhoi fighters with the same MiG-29K though is reassuring, the initial snags that India has to go through with the jets and rectify will benefit Russia once they instate the fighter jets in their Naval front line, said Indian Navy sources as reported by NDTV.