Russia has agreed to buy 28 MiG-29
fighters, right away, from the manufacturer. This is being done to prevent the
MiG Aircraft Corporation from going bankrupt. Earlier this year, Algeria told
Russia that it was cancelling the purchase of 28 MiG-29 fighters, and returning
the ones already delivered. Algeria insisted that there were quality issues,
and that some of the aircraft were assembled from old parts. The MiG-29 has
been in service for 25 years, but stocks of Cold War era spare parts are still
around, and apparently some were put to use to build the Algerian aircraft.
These are supposed to be "new," but some of their components are not.
But the real
reason for the Algerian reaction may be a better offer from France for more
modern Rafael fighters. France is seen
as a more useful ally than Russia, and France wants to sell some of those
Rafaels real bad. Russia went along with the Algerians, if only because there
were billions of dollars worth of other Russian weapons that the Algerians were
accepting. But the loss of that large a sale threatened to sink the
manufacturer, which has been losing out to Sukhoi, which has been much more
successful selling its Su-27 and Su-30 series aircraft.