Moscow, Dec 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti): The first three MiG-29UPG fighter jets have been delivered to India under a contract to modernize the fleet of MiG-29 aircraft in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF), the MiG aircraft maker said.
"The MiG corporation � has started deliveries of upgraded MiG-29UPG fighter jets to the Indian Air Force," the company said in a statement on Monday. "The first three aircraft have been transported to India on board an AN-124 heavy-lift transport plane," the statement said.
The IAF has awarded the MiG corporation a $900 million contract to upgrade all of its 69 operational MiG-29s. These upgrades include a new avionics kit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by a Phazatron Zhuk-M radar. The aircraft is also being equipped to enhance beyond-visual-range combat ability and for air-to-air refuelling to increase flying time.
The service life of the modernized aircraft has been extended to 40 years.
The first six aircraft are upgraded in Russia while the remaining 63 will be refitted at the HAL facility in India.
In 2007, Russia gave India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) a licence to manufacture 120 RD-33 series 3 turbojet engines for the upgrade.
"We are getting ready to carry out the work on the second part of the contract which stipulates the modernization of the (MiG-29) aircraft in India in close cooperation with the Indian defence industry," the MiG press service said.