Bulgaria turns away from Russia for future support of MiG-29

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Key Points

  • Bulgaria is looking to Poland rather than Russia to keep its MiG-29 fleet airborne
  • Sofia is looking to reduce its dependence of Russia wherever possible in light of Moscow’s interventions in Ukraine

Bulgarian defence minister Nikolai Nenchev announced on 6 July that the country’s air force will cut its ties with Russia for the maintenance of its Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft by signing an agreement with Poland to serve as a source for servicing and upgrading of these aircraft.

The support contract for Bulgaria’s MiG-29s will be carried out at the Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze Nr 2 (Military Aircraft Works No 2, or WZL No 2) in the city of Bydgoszcz. The contract is supposed to be finalised by the end of July.

WZL No 2 has long been the maintenance base for the MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-22 aircraft that are still flown by the Polish Air Force and it is also the chief servicing centre for Poland’s fleet of 48 US-made Lockheed Martin F-16C/D aircraft. Poland has had an indigenous upgrade programme for its own MiG-29s in process for some time now and has sought to minimise its own dependence of any kind on Russia.

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