Three MiG-21 fighter jets destined for Mozambique are stuck in Germany due to a lack of necessary permits. They are part of a batch of eight being shipped from Romania.
Romanian company Aerostar is overhauling six MiG-21bis and two MiG-21UM trainer aircraft for the Mozambique Air Force and is also providing training for Mozambican MiG-21 pilots. Three MiG-21s were seen flying at Aerostar’s Bacau facility last year.
On Sunday Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that three MiG-21s were transported from the Romanian capital Bucharest by train in six containers and were to have been subsequently shipped to Mozambique from the Germany port of Bremerhaven.
However, although the aircraft were declared according to procedure, their transport was done without the necessary permits and they were stopped. Der Spiegel reported that Germany’s public prosecutor will investigate the possible breach of arms control laws. The publication noted that Aerostar was found guilty of a similar incident in 2008.
In 2012 German customs officials confiscated MiG-29 engines for Algeria and Tu-142 engines for India over the lack of necessary permits.
The Mozambique Air Force is slowly rejuvenating, considering that until recently it was almost entirely inoperable, suffering poor serviceability since independence from Portugal in 1975 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its financial support in the early 1990s. The arrival of the MiG-21s will give the Air Force a jet capability not had in years, as its existing MiG-21s have fallen into disrepair and are grounded.
In addition to the MiG-21s, Mozambique has apparently bought two Aerostar Festival side-by-side light aircraft and will get an overhauled Aero Vodochody L-39ZO jet trainer. Late last year it emerged that Mozambique’s Air Force would also receive two second hand Antonov An-26B transport aircraft after they have been refurbished in the Ukraine.