AFZ MIG 29s 1987 articlesZimbabwean Denies Reports Country Bought 12 MIG-29's
A Zimbabwean Government official today denied reports that the country had bought 12 MIG-29 jet fighters from the Soviet Union.http://www.nytimes.com/1987/04/15/world ... -29-s.html
The official, Ernest Kadungure, Minister of State for Defense, said in Parliament that the reports about the purchase of MIG-29's were mere ''rumors and speculation.''
But Mr. Kadungure did not specify if such a sale was being negotiated or if it had been discussed and then rejected.
The reports in the Zimbabwean and foreign press, quoting unidentified United States sources, said Zimbabwe wanted the jet fighters as defense against possible air attacks from South Africa. The reports said the agreement would involve 180 Soviet military advisers to fly and maintain the jets and would cost about $385 million.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The African nation of Zimbabwe has been negotiating with the Soviet Union to purchase a squadron of advanced MiG-29 Fulcrum jet fighters, administration officials said today.http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1987/Zimba ... cb6d2c182d
The officials, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not identified, said it was not yet clear to U.S. intelligence agencies whether an agreement between Russia and Zimbabwe actually had been worked out.
''But we know there have been talks and that Zimbabwe wants to buy,'' said one source.
''They supposedly want to beef up their air defenses against South Africa.''
State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said ''we canot confirm these reports. If they are true, then we would certainly have concerns about the political, military and financial implications for Zimbabwe and for the southern Africa region as a whole.''
Asked what ''financial'' concerns would be aroused, she said, ''I think it means the terms of payment ... the price and how they would pay for it.''
The Reagan administration cut aid to Zimbabwe last summer to protest anti- American comments made by a cabinet officer in a speech to a gathering - including former President Jimmy Carter - at a July 4th party at the U.S. Embassy.
Of $20.5 million in aid scheduled for delivery in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, $13.5 million was withheld and no appropriation was made for fiscal year 1987.
At the same time, Zimbabwe is benefitting from U.S. aid to a regional organization of southern African countries.
The London Sunday Telegraph, quoting unidentified U.S. sources, reported that Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe was spending $324 million and pledging cash crops for 12 of the advanced fighters.
The paper said Zimbabwe would soon start sending pilots to Russia for flight training and expected to receive the new planes by the middle of next year.
The MiG-29 Fulcrum is one of the most advanced of all Soviet fighters. It is described by the Pentagon as ''a significant wartime air-superiority threat.''
The twin-engine Fulcrum resembles the F-15 Eagle in many respects and is said to be equipped with radar that allows the plane to engage aircraft or cruise missiles flying below it.
The Soviet Union, like the United States, has a stripped-down export version of most of its advanced planes, however. The administration sources said today that any deal with Zimbabwe would almost certainly involve a less- capable plane than that flown by the Soviet air force.
Nonetheless, a source said, ''such a plane would be so much more advanced than what they have now that this is bound to be a matter of great interest to South Africa.''
Zimbabwe, among the more hostile of South Africa's black-ruled neighbors, currently has only about 25 operational aircraft in its air force, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The institute, which annually charts the size of military forces around the world, says Zimbabwe currently has only about seven fighter aircraft. They are small, single-engine Hawk jet fighters, a British plane that was originally designed in the early 1970s.
Meanwhile, South African Defense Minister Gen. Magnus Malan said today that Zimbabwe does not need advanced Soviet fighter planes because Zimbabwe is not threatened, internally or externally.
Malan told Beeld, an Afrikaans-language daily newspaper, that the Soviet Union has supplied unnecessary sophisticated weapons to other countries in southern Africa.
The Telegraph quoted its sources as saying a group of black Zimbabwean pilots would leave within weeks for Moscow for the start of training. The paper said no white Zimbabwean pilots, many of whom are veterans of the Rhodesian Air Force when the country was under white rule, would be allowed to fly the planes.
South Africa currently dominates the region in military force, particularly in the area of combat aircraft. According to the institute, South Africa has more than 370 combat aircraft, including several squadrons of French-made Mirage jet fighters.
"My dream is that somehow South Africans and Zimbabweans create relationships of such a nature that the Limpopo river is no longer a border, but is a source of water and food.” -Bishop Paul Verrynhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueEbv02k7Ag