MiG Offer to Hungary
Russia reaffirmed on Tuesday its offer to overhaul NATO member Hungary's aging MiG-29 fighter fleet and rejected criticism by Hungary`s prime minister that the planes were not good enough.
``This aeroplane is not a `lame duck`, but rather a flying Hungarian eagle,`` Russian Ambassador to Budapest Valery Musatov told a reception honoring Hungarian Air Force Major Gyula Vari, who last week won the world`s ``Top Gun`` best fighter pilot title at a British air show for a record third time.
Vari achieved the feat flying a MiG-29, but that was little comfort to Russia, which stands to lose a small but long-standing customer for its military hardware.
Hungary, which joined NATO in 1999, is pondering replacing its 28 Russian-made MiGs with either U.S.-made F16s or Swedish JAS Gripens.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last week that Hungary was NATO`s ``lame duck`` with its MiGs, and the government would decide this month on a replacement.
Orban added that Hungary did not have enough money to buy fighter jets outright and even a lease scheme would cost 100 billion forints $354.4 million
.ReutersAVIA.RU - Информационное агентство "Российская авиация и космонавтика"