The Bacau-based Aerostar Company celebrates this weekend 20 years since the inaugural flight of its first prototype of the upgraded MiG-21 LanceR supersonic jet fighter; the military aircraft was subsequently introduced in the fabrication and research units of this specialized aircraft manufacturing and maintenance company.
“By defining the specifications and the design and implementation concept in a partnership of Aerostar with the Romanian Air Force Staff and the Israeli Elbit Systems Company, this programme is the broadest and most advanced upgrade of an aircarft made in Eastern Europe, through which the navigation and weaponry systems became compatible with those at Western countries’ level,” Aerostar Chairman & CEO Grigore Filip told Agerpres.
According to Filip, the MiG-21 Lancer is still modern after 20 years, as it is functional and compatible with the current aircraft systems; the two decades of continued use with successful participations in international missions proves the success was based on “good, visionary decisions in both technical and quality terms.”
He explained that the technological leap “subsequently translated equally in the military technique, the fighting technology or the guarantee of the training level of Romanian pilots at standards compatible with the military air forces of the old NATO countries, and also in the promotion of the potential of Romanian aviation experts, among whom many from Bacau.”
Some 110 MiG-21 LanceR aircraft were modernized by Aerostar; they are used by the Romanian Air Force. Later versions were produced for other countries, too.
The two-decade history since the first flight of the Romanian version of the ‘Fishbed’ (NATO code name for Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21) is also completed by the 95 Air Base in Bacau, the training centre for over 500 young pilots, including the first two Romanian women licensed in flying supersonic military aircraft.
Aerostar Bacau is one of the most profitable companies listed at the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB), with a net profit over 33 million lei in the first half of 2015 (up by 77pct year-on-year) on a turnover of 147 million lei (up by 32pct) and 164 million lei income (up 29pct).