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* Russian MIG-29s will compete with foreign aircraft in a competition organized by the Philippine government. Although their expansion into local markets has been stopped cold by the financial and currency crisis in Southeast Asia, Russian arms may resume their triumphant march soon. This will be the case if our MIG-29 aircraft outperform their foreign rivals at a competition organized by the Defense Ministry of the Philippines, the result of which will be announced later this year. The Philippines plans to buy 24 fighters, nine helicopters, and six sea patrol aircraft for their AF. As far as exporters are concerned, competition for the contract will be intense because it may reach half a billion dollars. These days, most Southeast Asian countries are patching holes in their national budgets. Manila's intentions make it the only arms importer in the whole region. The opportunity to sell Mirages, Hornets, Falcons, or MIGs which were not sold to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, or South Korea makes the contest all the more fierce. Not long ago, Thailand decided against buying eight F/A-18 fighter bombers, and Grumman USA had to give up a bond of more than 350 million dollars which was almost in its pocket. Russian arms exporters were also disappointed, since they hoped to sell 30 brand-new SU-30K fighters for 500 million dollars each to Indonesia, but Jakarta changed its mind at the last moment. In Manila, Russian aircraft will compete with American F-16 fighters, French Mirage-2000, Israeli Kfir aircraft, and some British and Swedish combat aircraft. Of course, it is still to early to be confident that the contract is ours, but three years ago our MIG-29s won a similar contest in Malaysia, and that is encouraging. And the rivalry between Russian and American exporters was then no less fierce then than it is now. It should also be noted that, not long ago, the MAPO Military-Industrial Complex and the Philippines Trade Corporation signed a memorandum on exchange of m ... Read more

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