India's order for 16 RSK MIG MiG-29K multirole fighters to equip the refurbished and upgraded aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov is reportedly in doubt due to Indian dissatisfaction with the aircraft's Zhuk radar.
The MiG-29K for India (9-41) is a highly modified derivative of the MiG-29K (9-31) originally designed for the Soviet navy, but cancelled when the Soviet carrier programme was trimmed from four ships to one.
The contract for the Gorshkov and its 16 MiGs was originally to have been signed last November, but was delayed until January because of what Indian sources reported as "technical issues".
This is understood to refer to Indian aspirations for the MiG-29Ks to be delivered with the same N-011 Bars radar as is used on the air force's latest Su-30MKIs, rather than the older N-010 Zhuk-MEh radar originally fitted to the MiG-29M.
The key difference between the two radars lies in their antennae, the N-010 using a simple mechanically steered flat slotted array, while the N-011 uses a phased array with electronic beam scanning.
Installation of the new radar would be technically possible, though the MiG-29K would require a smaller antenna than that carried by the Su-30MKI, and more flight testing would be required. This would erode the MiG Design Bureau's slender profits on the deal, and would make it more difficult to meet India's 2008 target in service date.
Source: Flight Daily News