In 2006, orders for Russian armaments totaled $30 billion, while aggregate military exports exceeded the target figure by 20 percent, setting a record of $6.5 billion. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the country has all the preconditions to become the leader of the world arms market.
Putin particularly highlighted the export activities of the MiG Corp., whose orders in 2006 exceeded $2.6 billion. According to Alexey Fedorov, MiG general director, orders will exceed $4 billion by the end of this year.
He said the corporation has been targeting foreign markets and plans to expand exports of its fighter planes. “The emerging positive trend of MiG family fighter exports is due to the optimal cost-efficiency of the aircraft. Besides, the corporation fulfils its contractual commitments on time and with good quality,” he said.
At present the Russian-Indian contract for the delivery of 16 ship-borne MiG-29K/KUB fighters of the 4++ generation (12 one-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat training MiG-29KUBs) is being implemented. A further 30 MiG-29K/KUB have been optioned. An $800 million contract was signed in March 2007 with the Indian air force (IAF) that provides for the modernization of the 64-aircraft-strong MiG-29 fighter fleet to extend service life from 25 to 40 years. The fighters will be equipped with long-range air-to-air missiles, new RD-33 series engines with digitally controlled fuel injection, Zhuk phased-array onboard radar, glass cockpit and provision for aerial refueling.
The first two prototypes of the modernized MiG-29 will be assembled in Russia, while work on the remaining fleet will be undertaken at the Ozar enterprise of the
Indian HAL Corp. in Nasik. The contract is to be completed by 2010.
The contract also envisages the launching of a servicing center in India for the fleet of MiG-29 fighters and ship-borne MiG-29K/KUB aircraft, the first of which is scheduled to join the Indian Air Force in late 2008.
The corporation is also fulfilling a contract with Algeria for the delivery of 36 MiG-29 fighters (including 28 MiG-29SMTs, six MiG-29UBTs, and 2 MiG-29SMTs for flight trials) and has options for another 36 MiG-29SMTs.
Fedorov said, “The MiG strategy is aimed at developing the maximum potential of the corporation. Taking into account the trends in the global market of combat fighter planes, as well as integration processes in the Russian aircraft industry, it was decided to focus on military programs, which includes MiG-29 modernization and the production and marketing of the unified aircraft family of the 4++ generation.”
Among the most significant export programs, Fedorov listed the marketing of MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-35 aircraft, continued cooperation with India on the MiG-29K/KUB program and bidding with the MiG-35 fighter for the IAF requirement for 126 multifunctional aircraft. Fedorov said, “In case of a victory, India will be given the most comprehensive license for the production of the aircraft.”
Talks are also under way with several Middle East countries on deliveries of MiG-29SMTs and MiG-29M2s, and there are prospects of offering the MiG-31 as a replacement to countries already armed with MiG-25s.
The MiG Corp. has supplied 6,300 aircraft to 56 countries: MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-25s, MiG-27s and MiG-29s. The total includes 800 MiG-29 fighters currently operational abroad. “These aircraft form a good market for modernization,” Federov added.