The Croatian Air Force and Air Defence has taken delivery of the first upgraded MIG-21 BIS fighter aircraft from Ukraine at the Pleso Air Base in Zagreb, Croatia.
Around seven Croatian MIG-21 fighters are being overhauled by Ukraine's State Company, Ukrspecexport, in Odessa, Ukraine, under a €13.9m contract signed in June 2013, Flightglobal reports.
The deal also includes the supply of five new single-seat examples, which are being refurbished and equipped to Croatian air force specifications.
A Ukrainian expert team has arrived in Croatia to assist the Croatian engineers and technicians with the reassembly of the aircraft and also to prepare the fighter for final testing and the takeover by the national air force.
The second MIG 21 fighter has also departed Ukraine and is scheduled to be delivered next week, while delivery of the remaining three aircraft will take place following the completion of preliminary inspections in Ukraine.
Having completed successful flight tests last week, the aircraft are undergoing final adjustments, including painting, and their overhaul documentation inspected, prior to shipment to Croatia.
Manufactured by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau, MiG-21 is a supersonic jet combining both fighter and interceptor characteristics in a single aircraft, and is designed to conduct very short ground-controlled interception missions.
Having entered service between 1992 and 1994, the Croatian MiG-21 fighters are widely operated for fighter/interceptor and training operations.
The aircraft is also operated by the air forces of Angola, Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, Libya, North Korea, Romania, Serbia and Vietnam, amongst others.
Image: The first upgraded Croatian MiG-21 fighter was delivered by land transportation to the Pleso Air Base. Photo: courtesy of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia.