Moscow: India on Tuesday acquired nine MiG-29K carrier-borne fighter jets from Russia with an extended range of 3,000 kms and capable of firing air-to-air and air-to-sea missiles.

The Russian MiG Aircraft Corporation has delivered the second batch of five MiG-29K fighter jets to the Navy, to add to its four, for which it has raised the new "Black Panthers" squadron.

India along with Russia, the manufacturer of the naval fighter, are the only countries to have acquired these fighters, which will be deployed on the INS Vikramaditya (former Gorshkov) aircraft carrier, under re-fit in Russia.

The newly acquired Russian carrier-operated MiGs are considered to be far superior to Indian Navy's current Sea harrier jump jets.

Under the Gorshkov aircraft deal inked between the two countries in 2004, Russia is to supply 12 single-seater MiG-29K fighters and four two-seater MiG-29KUB trainer-cum-combat jets.

According to a MiG release first of four MiG-29Ks and MiG-29KUBs delivered to India have been formally inducted by the Indian Navy's "Black Panthers" squadron in February 2010.

MiG Corporation has also delivered flight simulator and other technical equipment to the Indian Navy.

In March 2010, Russia and India signed another USD 1.5 billion contract on the supplies of 29 additional MiG-29K Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets and the deliveries are scheduled to commence next year, about the time Moscow is expected to deliver retrofitted Gorshkov aircraft carrier after serious delays.

Indian Navy’s anti-piracy operations


Indian Navy is going ahead with its anti-piracy operations without a let-up and is in control of the situation on the piracy front, Indian Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said on Tuesday.

"Our anti-piracy operations are continuing," he said during an informal talk with reporters, replying to a query whether the navy was planning to suspend the anti-piracy drive.

He noted that the pressure created by the multinational navies had shifted the activities of the pirates within a distance of about 500 nautical miles from the Indian shores, adding that "We are forced to engage them".

Admiral Verma was at the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla near here, where he reviewed the passing out parade of the 120 course of the premiere training institution.

"The vigilance level along the Indian coastline had already been high with coordination between the Coast Guard and fishermen following the 26/11 Mumbai attacks," he added.

On the recent terror attack on the Pakistani Naval base in Karachi and its implications for India, the navy chief said "It is not right to react immediately".

Earlier, Admiral Verma, in his address at NDA, exhorted the cadets to uphold the highest standards of discipline and ethos of the armed forces.

Cadet Nikhil Prabhune was awarded the President's gold medal on the occasion which also saw a spectacular air show presented by a formation of Sukhoi 30 fighter jets.

JPN/Agencies