To minimise reaction time, India to station all MiG 29s along Pak border

      To beef up air defence capabilities and react in quickest possible time along the international border with Pakistan, the Indian Air Force has decided to station all its MiG 29 squadrons at Adampur, the second largest Air Force base in the country. The Adampur Air Force station, which is also known as home of MiG 29s, already has two frontline fighter squadrons and will see another squadron moving from Jamnagar in Gujarat soon. "We consider ourselves to be a strategic air power establishment of the IAF in the western sector, ever ready for operations. We are fully geared up to operate in any given time frame like any other Air Force stations of the country," said Air Commodore HS Arora, Air Officer Commanding of the Adampur air base. To extend the service life of MiG 29 by 25 to 40 years, the RAC MiG aircraft corporation signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence to upgrade over 60 fighters in service with the IAF since the 1980s. "We are looking forward to induct upgraded Mig 29s which will happen sometime next year. The Ministry of Defence and Air headquarters is monitoring it," Air Commodore Arora said. He said six MiG-29 fighters are being upgraded and flight-tested in Russia and the remaining aircraft will be overhauled in India with the aid of Russian experts, and added that IAF pilots and technicians are already undergoing training there. "The upgraded MiG 29 fighters will have better radar systems and avionics to help fighters, a new weapon control system, modernised RD-33 engines, which would increase the aircraft hitting capability from long ranges," Air Commodore Arora added. The first batch of upgraded fighters will arrive in the second half of 2010 and Russia will complete the upgradation of 60 MiG-29 fighters by 2013. The Indian Air Force, which turns 77 this year, in order to become a strategic force in the world, has been going under modernisation in a big way. The IAF this year inducted one Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, and two more will come on line in 2010 to strengthen the Air Force's capability to see beyond enemy lines. In addition, the IAF is acquiring three midair refuelers, six C-130 transport aircraft, 80 medium-lift helicopters, Spyder air defense systems, medium power radars and low-level transportable radar. The IAF is also upgrading six airstrips in Arunachal Pradesh to rapidly deploy troops and jointly developing with Russia fifth generation fighter aircrafts.

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