Saturday, March 14, 2009

Russian air force withdraws 90 faulty MiGs: Report

Updated at: 0805 PST, Saturday, March 14, 2009

MOSCOW: Ninety of Russia's MiG-29 fighter jets have been rejected by military inspectors during checks after a crash last December, an air force spokesman said on Friday, quoted by media. "So far from the overall fleet of MiG-29s, about 200 planes have been examined, of which 100 have been permitted to fly. About 90 MiG-29s have been withdrawn from flying," said Colonel Vladimir Drik. He added that checks were continuing on the rest of the MiG-29 fleet and that faulty planes would be repaired and put back in service as funds became available. A foreign news agency estimated Russia's total number of MiG-29s at 300. Russia suspended MiG-29 flights in December when one of the jets crashed in Siberia, killing its pilot. The crash was attributed to a technical fault and followed another MiG-29 crash in October in the Chita area. First produced in the 1980s, MiG-29s have been exported through much of the world, notably being used by India's air force and by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. Despite a revival in Russia's financial position in recent years, the country's military has continued to suffer embarrassing technical failures, most notably with its accident-prone submarines.

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