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How much does a MiG-29 cost?

The Russian origin MiG-29 is used by countries all over the world. Many deals were signed with varying costs and other factors. Here is a comprehensive research on how much it costs using valid and reliable sources as references.


First Deal: 12 MiG-29K and 4 MiG-29KUB contract signed in 20th January 2004 is worth Rs 3,405.61 crores as per CAG.[1][11] For an exchange rate of 45.43 at that time, the amount translates to $749.7 million.[10] Hence the average cost of a single MiG-29K is $46.9 million. The contracts for the jets also stipulate pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including the delivery of flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems. So the unit cost of the MiG-29K variant is still unknown.[2]

Second Deal: 29 MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB contract signed in March 2010 worth $1.5 billion.[2] So the average cost of the jet is $52 million. Another news release says the jets cost $1.2 billion. [3] That translates to an average cost of $42 million per plane. Most probably the deal also covers a whole host of other goodies, but the full details of the deal is still not yet available in the public domain. So the unit cost of the jet is still unknown. The Russian deal still not yet signed is said to be estimated at $1 billion for 24 jets.[9]


A deal in March 2008 to upgrade 63 single seaters was undertaken at a cost of $964 million. [4] That's $15.5 million per plane for up-gradation to UPG or SMT standard. However this cost also includes setting up a production line and training personnel in the upgrade process, since except for 6 planes the rest will be upgraded in India.


Deal 1: An agreement was signed in October 1982 with Mikoyan Gurevich for the supply of MiG-29B aircraft including MiG-29UB trainers, at a cost of Rs 621.75 crores at 1981 price level plus escalation. [5]
At an exchange rate of 9.1 Rs for $1 U.S in 1981/82, Rs 621.75 crores translates to $683.25 million.[6]

Deal 2: An additional agreement was entered into with the manufacturer in March 1986 for the procurement of the aircraft in flyaway condition to be supplied by September 1988 at a cost of Rs 107.74 crores plus escalation for sustaining the unit establishment (UE) till the turn of the century.[5]
At an exchange rate of 12.17 Rs for $1 U.S in 1985/86, Rs 107.74 crores translates to $88.53 million.[6]
A Payment of Rs 3.92 crores was made to the manufacturers in May 1982 for retention of the option for its licence manufacture in India. The option was surrendered in June 1984 in favour of induction of another advanced technology aircraft(Mirage-2000).[5]
It is unclear exactly how many fighters were procured in both the deals but the figure is between 66-70 fighters. So the average cost of a single MiG-29B is anywhere between 11 - 11.7 million USD. When compared, the Mirage-2000 deal in 1982 was priced at nearly $1 billion for 40 jets.[7] Hence the average cost of a Mirage-2000 in 1981/82 was anywhere between $23 to $25 million. The cost of a follow up deal of 9 more mirages is unknown.[8] However both these deals covers training and spares, which means the unit cost of both MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 is unknown.

The unit flyaway cost of a MiG-29 would have remain an elusive figure if not for one source which perfectly separates the cost of the Jet, Training & Spares. Russia and Bangladesh signed a deal for 8 MiG-29 jets on the 9th of February 1999 for $124 million. They were 6 MiG-29B and 2 MiG-29UB. UB variant is the 2 seat trainer. $36 million was allocated for Training and Spares and $88 million for the 8 jets. The unit flyaway cost of a single MiG-29B and MiG-29UB is $11 million in February 1999.[12] It's often wrongly reported that the 6 single seaters were MiG-29S and sometimes even MiG-29SE variants. But the lack of a Swollen Spine, which is the characteristic feature of the MiG-29S and MiG-29SE, clearly proves that the jets are of the MiG-29B variant.

[1] - CAG Quote
[2] - Source: RIA Novosti - Russian Official Armed Forces Media Outlet
[3] - Source: RIA Novosti - Russian Official Armed Forces Media Outlet
[4] - Aircraft Data Pages
[5] - Source: Global Security
[6] - Source: International Historical Exchange Rate Regime
[7] - Source: Air Power and Challenges to IAF - Google Books
[8] - Source: Flight Global
[9] - Source: Russian Navy
[10] - Source: Xchange Rates
[11] - CAG Price
[12] - Sustainable Development Networking Program (SDNP) / United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

* Since the General Media is highly unreliable in reporting defence news, CAG reports, Official Russian Defence Media Outlets and other reliable sources are cited as References.

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