MiG Head 'Says' Bulgaria Cannot Repair Jets in Poland
Poland has no license or documentation whatsoever to repair MiG aircraft, the head of the original equipment manufacturer has reportedly warned.
TASS news agency quotes Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (abbreviated RSK MiG) head Sergey Korotkov as writing in a letter to the chief of Bulgarian Parliament's Defense Committee that his company will terminate maintenance and service contracts with Bulgaria if the country goes on with the decision to send aircraft for repair in Poland.
In mid-August a draft agreement was approved by Bulgarian ministers on defense cooperation with Poland which paved the way for Polish military aircraft works to take over the maintenance of Bulgarian Air Force MiG-20 fighter jets. The current Bulgarian administration perceives the step as an alternative to the procurement of new or acquisition of old jets which has been on the agenda for many years but has often been postponed over lack of budget funding.
In an interview earlier this month, Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev explained repair works by Poland would be cheaper compared to services offered by RSK MiG.
NATO requirements also obligate Bulgaria to pursue an overhaul of its aircraft fleet of outdated, Soviet-made MiGs, a process which Sofia says will begin in a few years' time. Bulgaria chose not to renew its existing maintenance contract with RSK MiG, which runs out in September, and send it might opt for Poland's Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnice state-owned facility instead.
However, in the letter mentioned by TASS, Korotkov supposedly warns Poland is not authorized to offer MiG spare parts to third countries.
MiG's Director General is said to have addressed the letter to Miho Mihov, who heads Parliament's Defense Committee and who has been a staunch advocate for the acquisition of new multirole fighters for many months.
TASS notes [RU] that the letter cited was published by Bulgarian daily Standart.
The respective newspaper, however, quotes several sections from the letter by making a reference [BG] to TASS itself.
The Russian agency also reports that the letter will be discussed at the October 2 session of Parliament's Defense Committee.
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