Warplanes: September 20, 2001


Russia has flatly rejected Indian claims that poor quality aircraft are the cause of 93 crashed Indian Air force MiG fighters over the last five years. The Russians blame the crashes on bargain-basement spare parts that the Indian Air Force buys from Ukraine or Eastern Europe. (The Indians have long claimed that Russia charges far too much for spare parts, basing the cost on how much profit they want to make, not what the parts are worth.) India also complains that it wants to do more of the work on the MiG-21 upgrade program at home, rather than having the Russians do it. The Russians are angry that India is asking Israel to bid against Mikoyan for the upgrade of Indian MiG-27s and MiG-29s. --Stephen V Cole


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