India Saved The Mig-29K Programme of Russia

India is considered the savior of the Mig-29K fighter programme of Russia

Very few people would know that the Indian Navy was first offered the Su-33 fighter for the Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya but the Navy opted for the Mig-29K.

During the early 2000s, the Mig-29K programme of Russia was on the verge of being cancelled as the Russian Navy had opted to go for the Su-33 fighter rather Mig-29K

However, given Indian Navy chose Mig-29K for its Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya. The Russian company Mikoyan put several efforts to modernize Mig-29K as per Indian standards.

The Mig-29K developed for India was a completely revamped version of the Russian original and incorporated new technology derived from the new Mig-35.

Subsequently, Mikoyan was able to further develop the Mig-29K for the Russian Navy. As a result, the Su-33 fighter got sidelined and never got into major production and only 24 of these fighters were ever manufactured by Russia.

Despite the greater capabilities shown by Su-33, the MiG-29K came as a cost-effective choice, cheaper to produce, smaller, and lighter, making it more appropriate for operating from a carrier with lower service cycle cost.

As a very limited number of fighters are required to operate from the carriers the Mig-29Ks were seen as a cost-effective choice by both the Russian Navy and Indian Navy.

Have India not opted for Mig-29K we never would have seen this fighter in its full glory.


  • Shantanu K. Bansal

    Founder of IADN. He has more than 10 years of experience in research and analysis. An award winning researcher, he writes for the leading defence and security journals, think-tanks and in-service publications. He is a senior consultant at the Indian Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla. Contact him at:

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