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ILA: MiG-29 production takes off, as Indian carrier trials near end

RAC MiG is boosting production activities to meet increased demand for its MiG-29 series of combat aircraft, with the design bureau also close to completing a series of aircraft carrier-based trials for India.

Following its receipt of major orders to supply the Indian and Russian navies with its MiG-29K deck fighter and MiG-29KUB trainer, MiG's production partners will complete 24 aircraft in 2012, up from 11 last year. A further dramatic increase is expected, however, with chief executive Sergey Korotkov having indicated that the annual rate may have to grow to 36 units to keep up with demand.



MiG says it is on track to complete embarked tests with the MiG-29K/KUB aboard the ex-Russian navy vessel the Admiral Gorshkov, which will soon re-enter Indian use as the INS Vikramaditya.

"The testing flights are to be fulfilled before the ship's handing over to the Indian navy, scheduled for December 2012," MiG announced at the show, with the work including using the carrier's "ski jump" ramp.

The service has already received a first batch of 16 aircraft, and will get the first four examples from a follow-on order for 29 more later this year.

Russia's navy will also later field 24 MiG-29K/KUBs with its lone aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, under a contract signed in February.

While the opportunity to make further sales with the K-series fighter is narrow, Korotkov sees the land-based MiG-29M/M2 as holding great potential. Boasting open-architecture avionics, a new radar and with an expanded range of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, the type is already being offered to possible customers.

"We are certain that as per its cost-efficiency ratio, the MiG-29M/M2 is capable to compete with any modern fighter," Korotkov says. "Many countries, who initially had declared a fast-track transition to Western weaponry, after complex analysis have corrected their approaches."

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