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IAF MiG-29 Of Kargil Fame Gets Upgrade, Now More Lethal, Capable Of Mid-Air Refueling

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| October 7 , 2018 , 16:57 IST

India Air Force's MiG 29s, which played a key role during the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999 has been given an upgrade, boosting its strength and ferocity, making it capable of mid-air refuelling, officials said on Sunday. The upgrade comes at a time that the IAF is reportedly battling a shortage of fighter aircrafts.

According to Flight Lieutenant Karan Kohli, deployed at Adampur Air Force Station and quoted by PTI, the Russian origin aircraft is now compatible with latest missiles and can launch multi-dimensional attacks. The new upgraded MiG 29 showcased its combat capabilities at the Adampur Air Force Station last week.

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The Adampur Air Force Station in Jalandhar, Punjab, is strategically important as it is located around 100 kms from Pakistan and 250km from Chinese boarders. The IAF currently has 3 squadrons of MiG-29 fighter jets in operation, with one squadron comprising of 16-18 aircrafts. Two of the squadrons are located at the Adampur Air Force Station.

During the Kargil War of 1999, the Adampur station played an important role in destroying enemy fortifications located at heights of 15,000 feet and above.

Flight Lieutenant Kohli said that the force now has a combat aircraft which is flexible and can be manoeuvred in every situation, allowing the IAF pilots to change their direction and strike the enemy. The fighter plane can take off within 5 minutes of spotting a hostile jet trying to enter Indian airspace and destroy it. The MiG-29 also has the capability of taking off vertically, which has "increased the IAF's power a lot", Kohli said.

India was the first international customer for the Russian-made MiG-29s, placing an order for more than 50 of the fighter aircrafts in 1980 while the MiG-29s were still in initial development phases. In 1985, the aircrafts were inducted into the Indian Air Force, and since then have undergone several modifications with the addition of new avionics, sub-systems, turbofan engines and radars.