Russian sources report that RSK-MiG has signed a $130 million contract for 10 MiG-29s for the Myanmar air force, ending a two-year drought in export orders.
The price is extremely low - eight aircraft were delivered to Bangladesh in 1999 for $15 million each, and Eritrea's six aircraft cost a reported $8 million each - and 30% of the contract value is to be paid in advance with the rest being paid in installments over 10 years. The aircraft were manufactured at the beginning of the 1990s, for the Russian air forces, who were unable to pay for them. They have been in store at MiG's Lukhovitsky factory airfield ever since.
The cut-price sale will provide much-needed funds for the development of the company's MiG-29 upgrade programmes. Last year was a particularly bad one for the Design Bureau, which earned $100 million from exports, with virtually nothing from state orders. MiG hopes that the Myanmar order may augur in a new round of orders, and while the company recognises that the Cold War era of massive domestic sales has gone forever feels that it can match its successes in 1995, when 36 MiG-29 exports earned the company $1 billion. Bangladesh is reportedly on the verge of placing an order for a further 16 MiG-29s.