Twenty years ago, on August 23, 1995, the first prototype MiG-21 Lancer took to the air from Aerostar’s Bacau facility in north-east Romania.
Developed as a joint program between the Romanian Air Force, Aerostar and Elbit Systems of Israel, the MiG-21 Lancer is the most complete and advanced fighter jet upgrade program undertaken in Eastern Europe.
A total of 110 aircraft were upgraded in three different variants (Lancer A – air-to-ground close support; Lancer B – air-to-ground two-seater; and Lancer C – air-to-air superiority) and in all these roles the aircraft has achieved total compatibility with the navigation and armament systems operational in aircraft used in Western countries.
The success of the program owes much to the Romanian Air Force’s initial definition of requirements and concept for the aircraft’s modernization and, equally, the upgrade execution by both Aerostar and Elbit.
Today the MiG-21 Lancer remains in front-line service with the Romanian Air Force and remains completely functional and compatible with present generation fighter aircraft.
The 20 years of continued service of the upgraded aircraft, including participation in international missions, is proof that the success of the program is based on good and visionary decisions taken more than two decades ago.
Aerostar, whilst marking this 20-year anniversary of the MiG-21 Lancer first flight notes, that, in addition to the modernization program itself, its post- delivery support for the upgraded aircraft has successfully underlined its role as a supplier of advanced solutions, of modernization and of maintenance for the Romanian Air Force.