Why MiG 29s, The Backbone Of Indian Air Force Against China, Can Turn The Tide Towards Armenia Against Azerbaijan?

Russia has consistently maintained that it does not prefer to interfere in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and wants to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means. 

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However, satellite images dated at the beginning of the year, show 13 MiG-29 fighters parked in the Erebuni military airbase, according to the Russian publication Avia.Pro.

Erebuni airbase
Satellite Image

The MiGs belong to Russia as the Armenian Air Force does not officially have MiG-29 fighters. The satellite images also show at-least 15 more military helicopters.

Even though the ownership of the rotary-wing aircraft is not clear yet but it will be a fair assumption that they also belong to the Russian federation.

Russia and Armenia currently have a defence pact called the CSTO and if Turkey enters the conflict or mainland Armenia is hit, Moscow will have to join the conflict on the Armenian side.

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So far Armenia and Azerbaijan have twice agreed on a Russia-brokered humanitarian ceasefire, but the truce was breached both the times as the two sides have accused each other of violating the agreement.

The decade-long simmering conflict escalated when both Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other carrying out provocations in the area of Nagorno-Karabakh on 27 September.

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Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian-majority land which proclaimed independence from the then-Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan in 1991 and has since sought international recognition.

With Russian MiG-29s in the Armenian territory, they could wreak havoc against Azerbaijan as the fighter jets have time and again proven their combat capability.

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Earlier in the year, MiG-29s operated by the Syrian Air Force in the battlefield of Libya reportedly hammered Turkish missile defence systems installed to protect the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its assets.

Designed by the Mikoyan Design Bureau, MiG-29 is a twin-engine air superiority fighter. Even though it was inducted in the Soviet Air Force in 1982, it remains a formidable and a lethal war machine.

The aircraft with twin RD33 turbofan engines is capable of delivering enough thrust to make it a Mach 2+ aircraft at altitude. It is optimised both for short-range air-to-air-combat, as well as, for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) engagements.

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India has also expressed its trust in the multi-fighter aircraft when it deployed some of its 40 MiG-29K jets to the northern border amid conflict with China in the Himalayan region. They were first inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the period 1986-1991.

Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh has recently approved the acquisition of 33 new fighter jets including 21 MiG-29s from Russia amid Indian Air Force’s depleting force strength due to its fleet of legacy aircraft and budgetary constraints.