MiG-29K fighters to operate from Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant

According to information published by Tass on August 29, 2022, the airpower of the first Indian indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will comprise Russian-made MiG-29K fighter jets for five-seven years. They will then be replaced by India-designed aircraft.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Indian MiG-29K abroad the Kiev-class aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Picture source: Indian Navy)

The Vikrant will operate MiG-29K until India designs its own double-engine fighter jets. It will take five-seven years. The Russian jets will operate from the aircraft carrier until India decides whether to procure French Rafale or US F-18.

The Vikrant will operate at least ten MiG-29K. The 262-meter-long aircraft carrier has a displacement of 45 thousand tons and develops a speed of 28 knots. The airpower comprises 30 aircraft.

About the MiG-29K fighter aircraft

The Mikoyan MiG-29K is a Russian all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft developed by the Mikoyan Design Bureau. The MiG-29K was developed in the late 1980s from the MiG-29M. Mikoyan describes it as a 4+ generation aircraft.

Production standard MiG-29Ks differ from prototypes in features such as a multi-function radar and several new cockpit displays; the adoption of HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) controls; the integration of RVV-AE (also known as R-77) air-to-air missiles, along with missiles for anti-ship and anti-radar operations; and several ground/strike precision-guided weapons.

The MiG-29K has two widely spaced RD-33MKs. The early prototypes were fitted with two RD-33K turbofan engines, each with an afterburner thrust of 86.3 kN (19,800 lb) and a possible take-off thrust of 92.2 kN (20,723 lbf) for shipborne operations. The RD-33MK engine features 7% higher power over the base RD-33, enabled by the usage of improved materials for the turbine blades.

The MiG-29K is armed with one GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. It can be fitted with laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles like Kh-25ML/25MP, Kh-29T, Kh-31G/31A anti-ship missile, Kh-35U anti-ship missile, and rockets. A-31P passive radar seeker missiles are used as anti-radiation missiles. It can be also armed with air-to-air missiles like the RVV-AE, R-27ER/ET, and R-73E.