Indian Air Force Day Special: MiG-29 gains strength, aggression after upgrade

New Delhi, Oct 8: The India Air Force's beast -- MiG-29 - has gained in strength and ferocity after an upgrade, giving the force which is battling a shortage of fighter aircraft a much-needed boost, according to officials.

The IAF has faced long-standing issues due to a large number of ageing Soviet-era fighters in its inventory. So, in order to enhance their operational capabilities, the IAF initiated the process of a comprehensive modernisation plan to upgrade its fighter fleet.

The Indian Air Force's MiG-29, which has a good operational record, has gained in strength and ferocity after the recent upgrade, giving IAF, which is facing a shortage of fighter aircraft, a much-needed shot in the arm. The Russian origin aircraft is now capable of mid-air refueling and is also compatible with latest missiles to launch multi-dimensional attacks along with Multi-Functional Display (MFD) screen, Flight Lieutenant Karan Kohli, who is deployed at Adampur Air Force Station, told PTI.

India became the first international customer of the MiG-29 after IAF placed an order for more than 50 MiG-29s in 1980 while the aircraft was still in its initial development phase. The IAF has three squadrons of operational MiG-29 fighter jets with two of them at the Adampur Air Force Station.

One of the most popular export aircraft of Russia, Mig 29 is currently operational in 23 countries with India being one of the largest export operators of the fighter jet.

Adampur station had played an important role in destroying enemy fortifications located at heights of 15,000 feet and above in the 1999 Kargil War. Similarly, in 1965 and 1971 war, the base was used for the air campaign against Pakistan inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.