December 21st, 2010

Defense ministry to invite bids for MiG-29s in spring

The Defence Ministry plans to invite bids for the Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets of the Hungarian Air Force, national daily Magyar Nemzet said on Monday, quoting a ministry source.

Hungarian military industry companies have held informal talks on revamping and reselling the aircraft, the paper said, adding that any sale to a third country would be subject to the prior approval of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

The Hungarian Air Force got 28 MiG-29 planes from Russia in 1993, as a partial payment of its government debt, in a total value of 800 million US dollars.

The service life of 14 MiG-29s was extended in 2002 and 2004, respectively, with the rest being cannibalised for spare parts. In the meantime, two jets crashed. If all goes to plan, twelve fighter planes will be offered for sale in spring.

The MiG-29s were phased out over the past few years and replaced by Swedish-made Gripens.

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