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10 Jan, 2020 | Posted By: staff reporter
Mnangagwa Government Buys MiG-35 Aircraft Jets Apa Vanhu Varikutambura

The Zimbabwe military is set to strengthen its their military arsenal as it emerged that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government will soon take delivery of Russian-made MiG-29 and MiG-35 aircraft to replace its single-engine J-7 fighter jets procured from China.

The MiG-35 aircraft is a popular light tactical plane which is highly sought after across the world. Egyptian Air Force in August last year signed a military agreement to buy 50 MiG-35 warplanes from Russia in a US$2 billion deal, according to a report by the Middle East monitor.

President Mnangagwa’s trip to Eurasia in January last year, according to the Zimbabwe Independent, was partly meant to reassure Moscow that his administration was still committed to the light aircraft deal which had been initiated by Robert Mugabe’s administration.
“Zimbabwe has always wanted to replace its fighter jets with Russian-made MiG-29s and MiG-35. But it was discouraged by the West. Buying military hardware is a major military strategic statement.

“The idea to acquire military equipment from Russia has always been on the cards since 2002.

“More recently, in 2017, this matter resurfaced with Zimbabwe seeking to buy MiG-35s from Russia in exchange for the Darwendale platinum reserves among other mineral resources,” a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Independent this week.

MiG-35 is a revision of the basic MiG-29. The aircraft features a more robust multi-role capability with enhanced use of air-to-air and air-to-ground high-precision weapons. Also, it has an increased combat range owing to an increase in its internal fuel capacity.

Western countries, which had traditionally supplied Zimbabwe with military hardware, cancelled the deals in 2000 after they slapped Mugabe with sanctions over Harare’s deteriorating human rights record.

The deal is one of many inked during a trip to Zimbabwe by Russian Foreign Affairs minister Sergey Lavrov in 2018.

The trip was part of Lavrov’s tour of Africa, during which he highlighted that Moscow was scouting for military cooperation opportunities with Harare in a deal tied to a US$3 billion joint platinum project with the southern African country. “Zimbabwe has always wanted to replace its fighter jets with Russian-made MiG-29s and MiG-35. But it was discouraged by the West. Buying military hardware is a major military strategic statement.

“The idea to acquire military equipment from Russia has always been on the cards since 2002.

“More recently, in 2017, this matter resurfaced with Zimbabwe seeking to buy MiG-35s from Russia in exchange for the Darwendale platinum reserves among other mineral resources,” a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Independent this week.

MiG-35 is a revision of the basic MiG-29. The aircraft features a more robust multi-role capability with enhanced use of air-to-air and air-to-ground high-precision weapons. Also, it has an increased combat range owing to an increase in its internal fuel capacity.

Western countries, which had traditionally supplied Zimbabwe with military hardware, cancelled the deals in 2000 after they slapped Mugabe with sanctions over Harare’s deteriorating human rights record.


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staff reporter
staff reporter
Staff Reporter for Zimbolivenews.com & Zimbolivetv.vom



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