The Czech DEFENCE ministry has reduced ambitious plans for a substantial upgrade to part of the air force's Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed fleet.

According to ministry sources in Prague, a more austere upgrade package is now envisaged. This will consist of replacing the Russian Odd Rods identification friend or foe with a Western system, a global-positioning system, and the buying of NATO-compatible communications equipment.

Initial plans to consider avionics, radar and weapons upgrades have been shelved because of their costs.

Several Czech companies, teamed with foreign partners, are competing for the upgrade, which will cover 24 aircraft. These include Aero Vodochody, the LOK/LOM aircraft repair plant. Israel's Elbit and Israel Aircraft Industries, along with the USA's Litton.

Source: Flight International