Russia has signed a contract to acquire 20 MiG-29K carrier-based fighters and four MiG-29KUB trainers. MiG confirmed on 29 February that defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov and MiG general director Sergei Korotkov had signed the contract. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
Deliveries will be made between 2013 and 2015, with the aircraft to be operated from the Russian navy's lone carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, serving with its Northern Fleet based in Murmansk. The vessel currently operates Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighters.
"The signature of this contract is a real step in fulfilling our programme for rearming the forces. The naval air forces will get a modern combat aircraft - as good as any in the world," Serdyukov said.
The contract will guarantee MiG a steady level of work in the medium term, Korotkov added.
© RAC MiG
The MiG-29K is a navalised variant of the MiG-29M land-based fighter, with folding wings, an arrestor tail-hook, strengthened airframe, Zhuk-ME multimode radar and multi-role capability. It can be armed with a wide variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, including Kh-31 anti-ship missiles.
India's navy is the only export customer for the type, which will be flown from a refitted Russian-built carrier expected to be delivered at the end of this year.
The Russian navy experimented with a navalised MiG-29 prototype in the 1980s onboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, but opted for the Su-33 instead.
It is not known if the navy will continue to operate the Su-33 alongside the MiG-29K.