Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 171

Clearly piqued when Peru bought seventeen surplus MiG-29 jet fighters from Belarus in 1996, the Russians warned the Peruvians at the time that the deal was not such a bargain, since Russia would provide neither spare parts nor maintenance for the Russian-built planes. But with arms sales now few and far between, the Russians have apparently had a change of heart. Several sources this month have reported that the arms export company Rosvooruzhenie and Peru have signed a contract in which the Russians will sell Peru an additional three MiG-29s and provide maintenance support and spare parts for the entire Peruvian fleet. The MAPO MiG production association which produces the MiGs has fallen on hard times since selling eighteen MiG-29s to Malaysia in 1994 (Russian media, September 2, 15).

The Russians also face stiff foreign competition in the lucrative business of upgrading older fighters to modern standards. One of the best candidate for this modernization is the Russian-built MiG-21 which is still in service with many countries throughout the world. An Israeli company is presently upgrading 15 of these planes for the Cambodian air force. While the Sokol factory in Nizhny Novgorod won the contract to help upgrade the Indian MiG-21 fleet, a company official recently noted that Sokol itself would only upgrade two of the fighters and then provide the Indians with the kits, training and technology to upgrade 123 more. He complained that the Indians would then be in a position to offer up-grade services to other countries (Defense News, September 7-13).