India has finalised a deal with Russia to purchase 16 MIG-29K jets for the navy and plans to upgrade the army's fleet of T-72 tanks to increase their firepower, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee informed parliament Wednesday.
"A contract for the purchase of 16 MiG-29K aircraft from the Russian Federation for the Indian Navy was signed on Jan 20, 2004. The value of the contract is $740.35 million," Mukherjee said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
The delivery of the aircraft will begin in June 2007 and the MiG-29Ks would give the navy the capability of carrying out airborne missions at sea at extended ranges from the coastline.
In a reply to another question, Mukherjee said the Indian Army's entire fleet of T-72 tanks would be upgraded by installing auto navigation systems and new engines for better mobility.
The protection, night sight and thermal fire control systems used in the tanks would also be upgraded to improve their firepower.
The Heavy Vehicles Factory in Tamil Nadu was upgrading the Russian-designed T-72s and the project was likely to be completed by 2008-2009.