At the very beginning the Luftwaffe hardly welcomed the weapons system. German officials were very suspicious about an Eastern type of aircraft in use with a standard NATO wing. In 1990 the decision was made to keep the MiG 29 in airworthy condition and to conduct a minimum flying service at a rate of two or three flight hours per week and per aircraft from January 1991 onwards. Four MiG 29s, two A and two UB models were handed over to the Test and Evaluation Center 61 (WTD 61) in Manching near Ingolstadt, Bavaria. Another MiG 29s went overseas to the US Air Force for evaluation and remained there for over one and a half years. With the “Gulf War” becoming more and more inevitable, sorties and missions of aircraft from the “allied” nations were conducted against the MiG, as MiG-29 was also one of the spearheads in Saddam Hussein’s air force.
After the decision was made to keep MiG-29 Fulcrum in Luftwaffe service, the German MoD began to think about a possible combat efficiency upgrade for its MiG-29s to overcome most of these technical problems such as the cockpit placards being written in Cyrillic, making it difficult for a Western pilot to operate the aircraft properly. Another problem can be found in the avionics, which are set to the metrical system. The altimeter read outs are in meters, ranges on the radar are in kilometers and the speed is given in kilometers per hour. The most important problem of the MiG 29, however, is limited fuel capacity. As MiG-29 lacks an air to-air refueling capability, CAP (combat air patrol) operations inside an FAOR for more than 35 minutes are impossible without continual replacement of the participating aircraft. DASA (now EADS) at Manching was chosen, together with MiG MAPO at Russia forming MAPS, a German-Russian joint venture, which should conduct the upgrade for all MiG-29s to Western ICAO standards.