The Croatian Air Force has taken delivery of its final refurbished Mikoyan MiG-21bis-D fighters and UMD-model trainers from the Ukraine’s State Company, Ukrspecexport.
In 2013, Croatia awarded a €13.9m contract to overhaul seven MIG-21 fighters. It also included the delivery of five new single-seat aircraft.
With the completion of deliveries under this contract, Croatia will be now able to field one fully operational fighter squadron, FlightGlobal reported.
The final aircraft was delivered after flight tests were successfully carried out by the air force in July.
The delivery of the aircraft fleet was delayed due to issues over the integration of new navigation and communication equipment in addition to challenges caused by digital-to-analogue signal conversion, Croatian sources said.
Croatia said the country will claim for ‘penalties specified in the contract’ in the wake of delayed delivery.
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.
Earlier, Croatia awarded a contract to Romania’s Aerostar overhaul and limited upgrade to eight MiG-21bis fighters. The company also delivered four enhanced UMD-model two-seat trainers in 2003.
Image: Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau-built MiG-21 supersonic jet. Photo: courtesy of Dmitry A. Mmottl.