Mark Hannant

An upgraded MiG-21bis has made its world debut at Farnborough '98, brought here by Romanian aerospace company Aerostar.

Aerostar's presence at the show is part of its international marketing drive aimed at winning upgrade business from air forces operating the bis variant.

Working with its partner Elbit Systems of Israel, Aerostar dismantled this, the most potent variant of the MiG-21 family, and trucked it to the airshow where it was re-assembled.

The MiG-21bis has been upgraded in secret using the expertise using the experience gained by Aerostar and Elbit Systems from the $300 million project to upgrade Romanian Air Force MiG-21s.

Of all the MiG-21s currently in service, the bis variant is the most common. Of a total production of some 12,000 MiG-21 aircraft, over 2,200 were bis variants.

Aerostar has recently restructured itself with a view to attracting investment from strategic partners and to secure its future in a global industry.

While it can probably expect to build on its reputation for upgrading MiG-21MF Lancer and bis variants, the company acknowledges that its future as a manufacturer of light aircraft is limited.

Source: Flight Daily News