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Russia's MiG company confirms delivery of MiG-29 naval fighters to India

MOSCOW - Russia's MiG aircraft maker said on Tuesday it has delivered the first four MiG-29 Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets to India.

Russia and India signed a contract on January 20, 2004, stipulating the supply of 12 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUBs to India as part of a $1.5 billion deal to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, currently being retrofitted in Russia for the Indian navy.

Indian media earlier reported that two MiG-29K and two MiG-29KUB fighters arrived from Russia in a knocked down condition on December 4.

Deliveries of the remaining aircraft will be carried out in line with a schedule agreed by MiG and the Indian Navy.

The contract for the jets also stipulates the procurement of hardware for pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems.

India and Russia are also reportedly close to reaching an agreement to break the deadlock on additional financing for the retrofit of the Admiral Gorshkov, which caused "a distinct chill in expansive Indo-Russian defense ties."

"India is likely to shell out around $2.5 billion and get the carrier by early 2013,'' Times of India quoted a source in the Indian military as saying.

The Indian Navy has named its MiG-29K squadron the "Black Panthers." The fighters will be based at an airfield in the state of Goa on India's west coast until the Admiral Gorshkov joins the Navy under the name of INS Vikramaditya.

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