What’s Russian for ‘a really lousy deal’?

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The Russian defence ministry announced this week it will buy the 28 MiG-29 SMT and UBT fighters originally sold to Algeria, completing, a bizarre 15-year circle for those previously homeless jets.

In 2007, Algeria forced Russia to take back the first 15 MiG-29s after determining the aircraft were duds.

My source in Moscow tells me the same batch of aircraft was originally built in the early 1990s, but proved unable to find a buyer — even at $5 million per aircraft.

Russia finally closed the deal with Algeria by promising to deliver new-build aircraft, but instead gave them the homeless MiG-29s with upgraded radar and avionics.

Now, Russia’s MOD has reportedly agreed to buy the aircraft for $23 million a copy — cheap by fourth-generation fighter standards, but insanely marked up since the early 1990s.



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