Russian prosecutors said they have launched an investigation into the supplier of substandard parts for MiG warplanes to Algeria.
Algeria last year returned 15 MiG fighter jets it had bought under a $7.5 billion (R55.6 billion) arms deal signed in 2006.
After Algeria signed the MiG contract with then Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2006, a firm called ATK AviaRemSnab struck a deal with MiG to supply spare parts for the warplanes worth over $14.3 million (R106 million), Russian prosecutors said.
“But it was established the parts for the aircraft to be supplied to Algeria’s Defence Ministry were used ones, made in the 1980-90s, while the accompanying documents registered them as new ones,” the Prosecutor General’s Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its site, www.sledcomproc.ru.
“At the moment, an investigation is being conducted to establish all the details of the crime and those who committed it,” it said.
ATK AviaRemSnab could not be reached for comment.
Algiers had been due to receive 34 MiG-29SMT fighters and 28 Su-30 heavy fighters under the 2006 deal. The MiG-29SMT is an upgraded version of the MiG-29 multi-role frontline fighter.
After Algeria returned the 15 faulty MiG fighters to Russia, it asked Moscow to supply an extra 16 Su-30s instead of the 34 MiGs, according to a report by the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST).
“As far as I know, no formal deal has been signed yet to supply these Su-30 fighters to Algeria,” said Konstantin Makiyenko, CAST’s deputy director.
“Algeria needs such planes because it lacks proper fighter aviation.”
Russia is one of the world’s top three arms sellers, trailing Cold War-era foe the United States and running neck-and-neck with France.
The arms trade earned Russia around $8.35 billion (R62 million) last year, according to CAST data, which estimated the world’s total legal arms trade industry at some €60 billion ($88.21 billion) (R656 billion).
Pic: MiG 15 fighter jet