Russia’s Mig is reportedly building 46 brand-new MiG-29M fighter jets in a contract worth at least $2 billion. The jets are being built for an unspecified buyer.
Although official confirmation remains elusive, a shareholder’s report released by a MiG component supplier has confirmed the order is real. The document outlines a deal for 92 engines used in the MiG-29. With two engines in each fighter, the contract corresponds with reports of a 46-fighter contract in the works.
Mig has lost several major contracts to both foreign and domestic competitors over the past two decades, and is struggling to keep up with its direct competitor, Sukhoi. It has also failed to deliver on signed contracts to major Russian customers such as India.
“Russia has not formally announced the deal because of previous delays on contracts. When you announce a deal and something goes wrong, the damage to your image as a reliable procurer is enormous,” says Yury Barmin, an expert on Russian foreign affairs.
Statements from Russian defense industry officials lead to Egypt. The official line is that the Migs are going to North Africa, and that the exact customer cannot yet be named.
The United States recently delivered dozen F-16 fighters to the Egyptian Air Force. France too began deliveries last year of new jets. Egypt’s aging Mig-21 fleet are due to be replaced. Some Mig-21s were delivered to Libya’s LNA recently.