SOFIA --- Russia’s MiG Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation has warned Bulgaria it may suspend the maintenance of Bulgarian Mikoyan MiG-29 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) aircraft, MiG Corporation CEO Sergei Korotkov said in a letter to Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Yuri Isakov.
"If the Bulgarian engines are repaired at Polish enterprises, the MiG Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation, which is the MiG-29 aircraft’s developer and manufacturer, will suspend further fulfillment of the contractual obligations to maintain and operate the Bulgarian Air Force’s MiG-29 aircraft," the official letter said.
"We will also raise a question whether Bulgaria has the right for the further use of the aircraft and life safety guarantees for the pilots," Korotkov said in the letter.
Poland and Bulgaria concluded a contract on October 22 for repairing the Russian-made MiG-29 aircraft in service with the Bulgarian Air Force. The document was signed by Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak and Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev in Warsaw.
"The terms offered by the MiG Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation are quite favorable for Bulgaria from the economic point of view," the letter said.
"The prices offered by Russia and Poland are virtually corresponding to each other. Poland is ready to extend the engines’ service life for L1.023 million [$1.12 million], while the MiG Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation offers to repair the engines for L1.050 million [$1.15 million]," Korotkov said in the letter.
"At the same time, Russia is ready to guarantee a service life of 500 flight hours, while Poland only 350 flight hours. If the engines are repaired in Poland, the Bulgarian Air Force will have to pay [for the engines’ further repair] virtually twice as often," the letter said.
The MiG Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation said that "although the incident provokes deep regret, taking into account the centuries-long friendly relations between Russia and Bulgaria, we hope that mutually beneficial cooperation based on international law will continue."
The Bulgarian parliament is expected to ratify the intergovernmental contract for repairing the MIG-29 aircraft’s engines in the next few days.
According to data of the US Military Balance journal, the Bulgarian Air Force operates 12 MiG-29A (Fulcrum-A) fighters and four MiG-29UB (Fulcrum-B) combat trainers.