June 03, 2013 16:58
Syria, Russia discussing delivery of MiG-29M/M2 fighters (Part 2)
MOSCOW. June 3 (Interfax-AVN) - The time and size of the delivery of Mikoyan MiG-29M/M2 multi-role fighter jets to Syria will be determined at the negotiations the Syrian Defense Ministry, Rosoboronexport and the Russian MiG Corporation are holding in Moscow, a representative of arms exporting entities told Interfax-AVN on Monday.
"It would be premature to say when and how many MiG-29M/M2 fighters may be supplied to Syria. There may be six, ten or twelve jets or even 24. If the negotiations settle all technical and financial issues, the first delivery is possible already this year," the source said.
In his words, the MiG-29 contract was signed in 2007 but it was not fulfilled for a number of reasons. The contract stipulated the delivery of twelve MiG-29 fighters to Syria, with an option for another twelve.
"Most probably, the delivery will be made in two steps, six fighters at a time. Then a new contract for twelve more jets may be signed within the option framework," he said.
Every part of the jets will be made in Russia, the source said.
"Problems with the aircraft equipment were the reason why the contract was not executed. It was planned at first that MiG-29M would have a substantial degree of French-made avionics, such as inertial navigation systems. But once the French learned MiG was building the fighters for Syria they bluntly refused the delivery, which at least seriously delayed the contract if not thwarted it," he said.
Escalation of tensions in Syria added to the problem, he said. "The delivery of fighter jets would have been extremely problematic at the first stage of the conflict even if they had been ready. The current situation in Syria is more stable and predictable," the source said.
Some 50 MiG-29 and MiG-29UB fighters had been previously supplied to Syria. "They know these aircraft well and I think there won't be any problems with re-training our Syrian partners to fly a later modification, MiG-29M/M2," he said.
MiG-29M and MiG-29M2 are the latest mass-produced models of MiG. They are based on the platform of the MiG-29K/KUB seaborne fighters, mass production of which started in 2008.
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