Myanmar Interested in More MiG-29s From Russia
06 Apr 2006
In a report published on April 4th, Russian daily Kommersant revealed that the high-level delegation from Myanmar has visited Russia in order to discuss purchase of a wide variety of Russian arms and other military equipment. According Kommersant, listed on Myanmar wish-list among others were MiG-29 fighters as well as short range Tor-M1 and medium-range Buk-1M mobile air defense systems.
The Chinese government has so far been Myanmar's closest ally, biggest trading partner and principal source of military hardware and training since the 1988 coup. Other significant suppliers have, in the past, included Singapore, India, Israel, Germany and Pakistan.
However, Myanmar's first major purchase of Russian weapons was initiated in 2001 after a number of border incidents with Thailand, and included ten MiG-29 fighters. Some sources suggest that all ten airframes have been delivered to Myanmar Air Force (Tamdaw Lay) in 2002 and were in fact a package of eight single-seat MiG-29 (9-12B) and two two-seat MiG-29UB fighters that have been built for but never delivered to the Iraqi Air Force.
According to Kommersant, it is quite real to expect that in exchange for further deliveries of new quantities of modern weapons, Russia will request Myanmar to secure easy access for those Russian companies that are interested in on-shore and off-shore exploring of Myanmar’s oil and gas fields.
Report by Igor Bozinovski