TIRANA, Albania-Albania will stop using MiG fighter jets by the end of the year because of high maintenance costs and the planes' unreliability, the country's top military official said Friday.
Albania's military uses 125 Soviet- and Chinese-made MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21 jets. It also has used MiG-15s for training.
The country's "financial reality and the efficiency" of keeping MiG planes in the air have obliged the military to put them out of use, army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Pellumb Qazimi said.
Last year, a MiG-19 crashed during takeoff, killing the pilot.
Albania now relies on helicopters for military and humanitarian purposes. Tirana also plans to use military surveillance planes after 2007.
Albania, which is reforming its military in hopes of joining NATO in 2008, has small peacekeeping units in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia.