Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG delivered 12 modernized MiG-29SD fighter jets to Slovakia (the Slovak name for them is MiG-29AS). The works, approved by the Russian government, started in 2002, when Slovakia’s Defense Department and Russia’s MiG signed an agreement on cooperation. The upgraded jets were delivered to Sliac, Slovakia’s largest air base. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Baska, MiG’s representatives, officials from Rosoboronexport (defense export corporation). It became the first time when US, German, Czech, British and Russian firms upgraded Russian battle planes on the territory of a NATO member – Slovakia.
Modifications were made at a LOT plant in the town of Trencin. As a result, MiG fighter jets have been adapted to NATO standards. It was achieved by including modern computer, navigation, landing and radio systems and new identification equipment into the on-board electronic equipment of the jets. The MiG acted as an integrator, while systems and devices were supplied by leading companies of the above-mentioned countries. HR Smith Group, Goodrich Aerospace Lightning Systems were among other firms participating in the upgrade of MiG-29 jets.
As a result, MiG’s abilities in navigation and especially in hitting air targets have been expanded considerably. The aircraft can now classify targets without referring to ground control centers. Besides, the fighter aircraft can now interact effectively with land, naval and aviation elements of NATO armies.
Russia ’s MiG-29SD can now be used in all NATO operations. The working lifespan of the aircraft has been increased up to 40 years, whereas its resources were extended up to 4,000 hours. Without upgrade the fight jets would be eligible for decommission in 2020. High characteristics of the upgraded MiG 29s were confirmed during NATO’s joint exercises. The Slovak Air Force is going to display brand-new aircraft at Berlin Air Show in May of the current year.
The experience obtained from the 70-million-dollar contact is expected to be helpful in other countries. The same MiG upgrade is under way in Bulgaria and Poland. Poland decided to use MiG jets up to 2025.
According to experts’ estimates, about a hundred of MiG fighter jets can be adapted to NATO standards in Europe.
Translated by Julia Bulygina