The Nicaraguan Air Force will get Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (“Fulcrum”) fighter jets to improve its air defense capabilities of its maritime territory, Brigadier General Adolfo Zepeda of the Ejército Nicaragüense told reporters on 10 February 2015.
The star officer is the inspector of the Nicaraguan Armed Forces. According to general Zepada the planes will be bought to deny drug trafficking aircraft the use of our air space and are purely meant to be used in a defensive role.
However, Latin American watchers say the announcement can be seen as hostile by neighbouring Colombia, with whom Nicaragua has an uneasy relationship with. The two countries have a dispute over tens of thousands of square miles of sea area that was officially settled in 2012 by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. But the rational ruling doesn’t change what the “national hearts” feel.
Apart from the wish to buy a yet unknown number of MiG-29s, Nicaragua is also seeking eight new patrol boats according to Brig. Gen. Zepada.
The Fuerza Aérea Nicaragüense is a small armed service of about 30 aircraft, with no real fighting power apart from two dozen armed Mil Mi-17 Hip assault helicopters from Russia and – if operational – four Aermacchi SF.260s basic trainers with underwing hardpoints to serve in a light ground attack role.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29M2 (Image © Russian Aircraft Corporation)