The Indian Navy plans to deploy 20 of its 45 MiG-29 carrier-borne fighters to the Himalayas to reinforce air force jets flying patrols over a disputed region bordering China. The navy MiG-29Ks are destined to fly from the fleet’s new aircraft carrier Vikrant. But Vikrant is years behind schedule, freeing up the MiGs for land-based operations.
There’s probably another reason for the planned deployment. Many of India fighters appear to be ineffective in the thin air of the towering mountains. The Russian-made MiGs, while inferior to French-made types, reportedly are better for mountain patrols than, say, the Su-30 is.
Indian media first reported the MiG deployment on Tuesday. “They might be used for carrying out operational flying in the eastern Ladakh [region] along the Line of Actual Control,” a government source told news agency ANI.