The Defence Ministry on Thursday approved a proposal to acquire 33 new fighter aircraft including 12 Su-30MKIs and 21 MiG-29s along with upgradation of 59 MiG-29s at a cost of Rs 18,148 crore.
“Addressing the long-felt need of the Indian Air Force to increase its fighter squadrons, the DAC also approved the proposal for procurement of 21 MiG-29 along with upgradation of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Thursday after a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the Chairmanship Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
While the MiG 29 procurement and upgradation from Russia is estimated to cost Rs 7418 cr, the Su-30 MKI will be procured from HAL at an estimated cost of Rs 10730 cr.
The decision comes in the wake of high tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops have been in a standoff position for several weeks now.
The DAC also approved acquisitions of various platforms and equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces for an approximate cost of Rs 38,900 cr.
It also cleared the acquisition of 248 Astra Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missiles for the Indian Air Force and the Navy. The design and development of a new 1,000 kilometres strike range Land Attack Cruise Missile by the DRDO has also been cleared.
“Acquisition of new/additional missile systems will add to the firepower of three Services. While the acquisition of Pinaka missile systems will enable raising additional regiments over and above the ones already inducted, the addition of Long-Range Land Attack Missile Systems having a firing range of 1000 Km to the existing arsenal will bolster the attack capabilities of the Navy and the Air Force. Similarly, induction of Astra Missiles having Beyond Visual Range capability will serve as a force multiplier and immensely add to the strike capability of Navy and Air Force,” the statement said.
The IAF has raised its guard to deal with any military provocation by the Chinese forces and forward bases have been ordered to be on their highest state of alert. Apart from Sukhoi-30s and upgraded MiG-29 fighter jets, the IAF is operating Apache AH-64E attack helicopters and CH-47F (I) Chinook multi-mission helicopters.
The IAF and the Indian Army have deployed their air defense systems in eastern Ladakh even as the People Liberation Army-Air Force has activated several of its bases in both Xinjiang and the Tibet Autonomous Region.