The Indian Navy has received its first four MiG-29K fighters from Russia, which were delivered in a knocked-down condition to be assembled in India.

The MiG-29K squadron, with its four fighter aircraft known as Black Panthers, will be deployed on the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Admiral Gorshkov which is scheduled to be delivered by 2012. The jet aircraft will undertake shore-based sorties from Goa.

The delivery of the aircraft is part of a $1.5bn deal signed with Russia in January 2004 for the Admiral Gorshkov.

Of the 12 ordered, four MiG-29KUB twin-seat trainer aircraft have been received by the navy in flyaway condition.

In addition to the aircraft, the contract also calls for the procurement of hardware for pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems.

The aircraft will provide aerial cover to the carrier’s battle group, destroy sea-borne and ground-based targets with guided high-precision weapons in all-weather conditions and perform midair refuelling services.