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19 Feb, 2008 02:41

Algeria returns ‘defective’ Russian fighter jets

Algeria wants to return 15 Russian MiG fighter jets claiming they're defective.

The aircraft were delivered by Moscow almost a year ago. Both countries are searching for ways to resolve the issue, which is likely to be part of discussions between Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

It's the first time a foreign client has ever returned military hardware to Russia.

The 15 MiG planes Algeria says are not up to scratch were the first stage in an $US 8 billion contract between the two nations. Algeria says the first planes delivered back in March 2007 contained sub-standard parts.

It appears a deal to return the aircraft has been struck. But it's unclear how this will be achieved. Replacing them is one option, as is alternative military hardware.

But it's unlikely the contract can simply be torn up.