The Algerian Air Force ranks first in Africa by its power. At the same time, the best MiG-29s ever built by Russia have already started to arrive there. They should further increase the capacity of the African country’s air fleet, writes the American edition of Military Watch.
The Algerians have four squadrons of MiG-29 fighters of various modifications. They have about 50 MiG-29S, MiG-29SMT, and MiG-29UB fighters.
In August 2019, Algeria signed two contracts with Rosoboronexport for a total of $1.8 billion. The Algerians ordered 16 heavy Su-30MKI(A) and 14 medium MiG-29M/M2. The first batch of MiG-29M/M2 (presumably two units) was recently delivered to the Bousfer airbase (near Oran) in a disassembled form. The 193rd (19th) fighter squadron is located there, and the Algerian Air Force wants to replace the outdated MiG-29S with new fighters, which were purchased in the early 2000s in Belarus and Ukraine.
Algeria is a traditional buyer of Russian arms, so the deal is not surprising. MiG-35 was adopted by the Russian Air Force in June 2019. However, it is unclear why the Algerians did not order the latest MiG-35. Especially since they were interested in it, as well as in the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter.
The MiG-35 can boast a number of excellent characteristics. It has a more powerful engine with a variable thrust vector, a new radar with AFAR, modern missile armament (R-37M and X-58), an air defense system, and even artificial intelligence.
It is possible that the MiG-35 will not dare to buy it at once, as its performance will further improve after several years of operation in the Russian Air Force. The Algerians decided to wait and buy the MiG-29M/M2 for now, as it is the cheapest fighter produced in Russia today. But despite the huge attractiveness of the MiG-29M/M2 at the world arms market, the MiG-35 will undoubtedly surpass it.