Russia Threatens to Stop Maintenance of Bulgaria’s MiG-29s
Russia will stop the maintenance of Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29s, if the government in Sofia signs a deal with Poland for the repair of their engines, Sergei Korotkov, Director General of the jets' Russian manufacturer MiG Corp., said on Friday.
"If Bulgaria and Poland sign an agreement on the repair of the RD-33 engines powering the MiG jets, this will leave us no other choice but to give up on technical maintainance of the MiG-29 planes operated by the Bulgarian Air Force," Korotkov told reporters, according to TASS.
The jet fighters’ further operation as well as the safety of their pilots would be put into doubt if Bulgaria awards to Poland a contract for the repair of the jets' engines, Korotkov said.
“We deplore the decision, which is being taken on the basis of considerations of political expedience alone and most probably is a result of outside pressure,” Korotkov said.
Poland has no licence or documentation whatsoever to repair MiG aircraft, Korotkov said last month.
A Russian lawmaker on Friday echoed Korotkov’s comments that Bulgaria could put the lives of its Air Force pilots at risk in case of awarding a contract for the repair of MiG-29 engines to unlicensed Polish aviation works.
"Obviously, the risks taken by Bulgarian pilots in connection with the operation of the MiG’s will be extremely high after the repair of the engines by unlicensed Polish specialists," Vladimir Gutenev, first deputy chairman of the Industry Committee at the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, told reporters, according to TASS.
The Bulgarian government authorized Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev last week to sign a contract with Poland for the overhaul of six MiG-29 engines.
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