BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:45 P.M.) – Iraq is reportedly considering the acquisition of several Russian-made MiG-29 jets, the Russian publication Avia.Pro reported on Thursday.
Citing “Iraqi sources”, the Russian publication said the Iraqi Defense Ministry is engaged in ongoing discussions with Moscow about purchasing the MiG-29 in order to replace their aging U.S.-made F-16 fighters.
“Iraqi sources reported that the Iraqi Defense Ministry is engaged in discussions about purchasing Russian combat aircraft that will replace the non-repairable American F-16 fighters. The most profitable option, not inferior in power to American combat vehicles, is the MiG-29 fighter,” they said.
According to Avia.Pro, the Iraqi Air Force currently has 34 F-16 fighter jets, with more than half of them out of commission.
“To date, the possible acquisition of Russian MiG-29 fighters is only being considered by the Iraqi military department, however, experts believe that the sale of the same F-16s to other countries, and the purchase of Russian fighters with these funds, may even turn out to be beneficial for Baghdad,” Avia.Pro said.
There have been rumors surfacing for months that Iraq is considering the purchase of Russia’s S-300 or S-400 systems; however, to date, Baghdad has yet to acquire these air defense weapons.
Should they attempt to acquire MiG-29 jets, they may also face the same threat of sanctions from the U.S. over the purchase of these Russian-made aircraft.