Peru’s 12 Mirage 2000C/B and 18 MiG-29S fighters form the backbone of its current multi-role fighter fleet, alongside old SU-22 strike fighters and specialized SU-25 close air support jets. The Mirages were bought from France in 1985, while the MiG-29s arrived via a disastrous 1995 deal with Belarus. Fortunately, Peru patched things up with Russia, and RAC MiG agreed to provide service and support. In 2008, a contract began modernize that MiG fleet to the MiG-29SMT standard. In 2009, Dassault began working with Peru on a comprehensive inspection of the Mirage fleet, coupled with some electronics modernization.
These purchases have been expensive, and a number of observers have questioned their usefulness against more pressing security concerns, like Peru’s fanatical Marxist Sendero Luminoso (“Shining Path”) guerrillas. On the other hand, the FAP still remembers the 1995 Canepa War with Ecuador, and its Russian fighters are stationed very close to that border at Chiclayo and Talara. Its Mirage 2000Ps sit at La Joya near Bolivia and Chile; the 3 countries have a minor 3-way maritime borders dispute, and residual tensions with Chile have been a long-running theme in Peru. This article covers Peru’s ongoing efforts to maintain and improve its core fighter fleet.