The ministry of defence (MoD) is negotiating price for a draft supplement agreement (DSA) with Russia’s RAC-MiG Corporation to buy additional equipment to overcome the teething problems it is facing in keeping its MiG-29K fleet flying.
MiG-29K aircraft, which were inducted into Indian Navy in February 2010, have been suffering tyre bursts whenever emergency brakes are applied during landing. Emergency brakes are applied whenever there is hydraulic failure and DSA is expected to solve this problem.
A naval officer said, “Emergency application is jamming brakes and increasing the risk of tyre skidding, and eventually bursting.”
DSA will entail supply of ground support items and spares and ensure life-long serviceability.
MiG-29K have fly-by-wire controls with quadruple redundancy and are an all-weather carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft based on INS Hansa off Goa.
The navy has six such aircraft which are undergoing flying-training at its Goa-based intensive flying training unit. All these are under warranty.
As per MoD’s first contract with RAC-MiG, 16 such aircraft are to join the navy. A second contract for an additional 29 MiG-29K was cleared by the cabinet earlier this year, making it a fleet of 45.
DSA will be life long and apply to all MiG-29K.
Earlier this month, a MiG-29K suffered hydraulic failure, forcing the pilot to apply emergency brakes while landing on INS Hansa, which resulted in a tyre burst. But a source said such failures have been happening ever since the aircraft were inducted into the navy.