India’s MiG-29K naval fighter jet faces operational deficiencies due to defects in engines, airframe and fly-by-wire system leading to very low availability, top government auditor has said even as it slammed the delay in construction of the indigenous aircraft carrier.
That reported bytimesofindia.indiatimes.com.
The MiG-29K is a much-improved variant of the original Fulcrum and developed by the Mikoyan design bureau. As a carrier-based model, it features a reinforced airframe and undercarriage to handle the shock of carrier landings. It’s also is fitted with folding wings and a tailhook. The airframe also features signature reduction measures to cut the jet’s radar cross-section by a factor of four.
The aircraft were being technically accepted despite having discrepancies/anomalies, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said in its report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
“The MiG-29K, which is a carrier-borne multi-role aircraft and the mainstay of integral fleet air defence, is riddled with problems relating to airframe, RD MK-33 engine and fly-by-wire system,” it said.
Serviceability of the warplanes was low, ranging from 15.93 per cent to 37.63 per cent and that of MiG-29KUB ranging from 21.30 per cent to 47.14 per cent.
Russian Naval Aviation ordered 20 MiG-29K and 4 MiG-29KUB. But now delivered 2 MiG-29K and 2 MiG-29KUB.
Serviceability refers to the total number aircraft available for operation at a time from the overall capacity.
The CAG said the augmentation of infrastructure at Visakhapatnam was still at the Detailed Project Report stage even six years after approval in December 2009.
The Full Mission Simulator was assessed to be unsuitable for Carrier Qualification (CQ) simulator training for pilots, as the visuals did not support the profile, it said.
The auditor noted that the service life of the aircraft is 6000 hours or 25 years (whichever is earlier) and with issues facing the MiG-29K/KUB, the operational life of the aircraft already delivered would be reduced.