TIRANA, Albania – Albania is auctioning off dozens of obsolete Eastern Bloc military aircraft to raise cash for its armed forces, and officials say museums and collectors from several countries have expressed interest.
The Defense Ministry says the 40 Soviet or Chinese planes and helicopters for sale include six propeller-driven Yak-18s, Mig-15, -17, -19 and -21 jets and four Mil Mi-4 transport helicopters. They date mostly to the 1950s, and haven't been used for years.
A ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday that potential buyers in the U.S., France and Italy have expressed interest in the Feb. 22 auction in Tirana. Starting bids range from 1.1-1.9 million leks ($8,572-14,800).
The former Communist country joined NATO in 2009, and is modernizing its weaponry. Founded in 1951, Albania's air force currently consists of helicopters.