Israeli Firm Reportedly in Talks to Modernize Ukrainian MiG-29s

Ukrainian MiG-29, seen during Clear Sky 2018 military exercise. Image

An Israeli defense firm is said to be in talks with the Ukrainian defense industry over a contract to modernize the Ukrainian Air Force’s MiG-29 fighter jets.

The Defense Industry Courier, a Ukrainian website, reported on August 30 that Elbit Systems is looking to participate in modernization of the Ukrainian Air Force’s MiG-29s. The website quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry as saying the MiG-29s “will receive fundamentally new capabilities and the latest weapons for airborne warfare” as part of a modernization contract that is being discussed with Israel’s Elbit Systems.

According to the report, up to 11 MiG-29s could be modernized under the effort. The expected cost of the overhaul will be $40 million per plane, or about $440 million if all 11 undergo modernization.

The source indicated to Defense Industry Courier that a contract has not yet been signed. There is no confirmation of the source’s information and neither side has publicly commented on the report.

The reported negotiations could plausibly be related to Ukraine’s planned “MU2″ upgrade program that has been in effect for the last few years. That overhaul program calls for the integration of new air-launched armaments as well as updated onboard electronics. Ukrainian media have previously suggested that ”foreign partners” could be involved in the process, without specifying further.

One aircraft – serving as a prototype for the upgrade program – has already been overhauled, and Ukraine aims to begin modernizing more of its fleet next year.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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