Russia to begin supply of MiG-29K fighters in May : Adm Mehta

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Moscow, Mar 14 (UNI) Visiting Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta today said Russia will start supplying MiG-29K fighters for the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, next May.

The carrier would be renamed as INS Vikramaditya after being delivered to Indian Navy after a renegotiated deal expected to be signed soon, in the wake of Russia's demand for price escalation.

According to the original deal, it was to be delivered to India later this year, but now it would take at least three-four years before being finally handed over to Indian Navy.

The carrier has to undergo sea trials, including in Indian seawaters, for about 18 months.

Admiral Mehta today visited the assembly plant of the MiG-29K fighters, developed by RAC MiG, near Moscow. He also flew on the fighter to personally see its all-round capability in line with the requirements of the Indian Navy.

The delivery of MiG-29K fighters to Indian Navy on schedule, would allow it to form necessary squadrons for training. A batch of Indian naval pilots would soon be coming to Russia for training for about six months.

On January 20, 2004, the Indian Navy signed a contract for the delivery of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and four two-seat MiG-29KUB in the period from 2007 to 2009 to be deployed on the Admiral Gorshkov.

Admiral Mehta, currently on a week-long visit to Russia, is scheduled to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky on multi-faceted bilateral military cooperation.

He would also travel to Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk city in northern Russia to personally inspect the condition of Admiral Gorshkov carrier.

UNI XC RJ KN1917

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