MiG-29, from Cold War terror to Ukrainian war hero

For a long time, before the Iron Curtain broke and while military confrontation against the Soviet Empire and its satellites remained a possible outcome of the Cold War, the MiG-29 was for Westerners a source of fascination and an object of terror.

He was a scourge in the air with a reputation as a relentless killer, he was the center of attention of many young people in particular, a star in his eyes, his role in The Aggressors Where Ghost Squadronvolumes 44 and 46 of the original Buck Danny by Bergèse and Charlier.

“When it first appeared in 1977, the MiG-29 was, like its distant ancestor, the MiG-15, a shocking invention: the Soviets were catching up with American aircraft technology.”does it say in the Smithsonian Mag article about planes.

For America, the MiG-29, which was named “Fulcrum”, became for NATO a technological scarecrow. “The multiple intelligence sources and methods we used to gather electronic and other information allowed the US government to learn quite a bit about aircraft early on, and it was clear that we had to do something about it.”wrote Benjamin Lambeth, the first American to fly the plane, in 1989.

This assessment allowed Americans’ fears to subside. It turns out that the plane, although very maneuverable, can be considered very capable in this regard dog fightswas the result of aging Soviet doctrine and was designed to take orders from ground controllers, rather than being the lethal weapon of the pilot making the final decisions, like the rival F-16 or F-15.

In 1997, the United States acquired a number of MiG-29s which Moldova could not keep, to prevent them from going to Iran. Thus they could dissect it, piece by piece, evaluate it, send a copy to Edwards Air Force Base for flight tests, another to Nellis Air Force Base’s “Petting Zoo,” where America stores materials stolen from the enemy.

Another US Air Force pilot, Lt. Col. Fred “Spanky” Clifton, was able to fly a MiG-29, one of those recovered by the Germans after reunification. In an interview, he was able to describe his slight disappointment with the control of this once dreaded aircraft.

“Ordinary orders. The flight control system is a bit slow and responds with a delay. That doesn’t mean the jet is not maneuverable. He is. I put it between the F-15C and F-16. The pilot, on the other hand, has to work harder to get the device to respond the way it wants.

Kyiv ghost

Fast forward: February 2022. Russia is preparing to launch a “special military operation”, which of course it denies is real, but has little doubt on the part of Western intelligence.

So we researched the power that exists, and it seemed to be understood before it even started. Mighty Russia, its massive air force, and modern aircraft will chip away at some of the old nails that make up Kyiv’s meager air defense.

Like many people, we were wrong. And by many. Courageous, intelligent and agile, the tiny Ukrainian air force and its old MiG-29s in particular have never stopped since the start of the full-scale invasion to show off their enemy, whom they had barred from conquering the local skies.

The MiG-29 that was, yesterday, so fearsome is what, today, partially enables the country to defend itself against its invading neighbours. Ukrainian troops made shrewd, creative and careful use of it to wreak havoc on Russia – according to recent calculations, Moscow has lost a colossal 287 aircraft, and nearly as many helicopters, since February 24.

MiG-29s and other Ukrainian combat aircraft are, as Tasks & Objectives describe, used with the main elements of Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defense.

It is used in conjunction with other anti-aircraft defenses, such as the Soviet-designed S-300 system, others delivered from the West such as the French Crotale or Norwegian NASAMS, or even portable weapons such as the MANPADS, FIM-92 Stinger or the dreaded British Starstreak.

Outcome: The MiG-29 and its pilots, so respected by their American counterparts they trained, posed such a problem for the Russian air force that it often preferred to keep its distance so as not to risk losing another aircraft, often leaving troops on the ground without air support .

It is even said that the newest Su-57, which is supposed to be the spearhead of VKS technology, only flew in Russian airspace for fear of being shot down over Ukraine and exposing all its stealth secrets.

Of the western ghosts, the MiG-29 has even become a myth – in the truest sense of the term. At the start of the conflict, the legendary figure of “Kyiv ghost”The “kyiv ghost” who almost single-handedly defended the country’s stormy sky like an indestructible ace, shot down the Russian planes one after another.

Recently, and in a much more tangible way, the Ukrainian air force and its MiG-29s have shown themselves in what is very similar to Battle of Britain 2.0.

Therefore, they are working to defend as best they can, with available means but with certain effectiveness, the state, its civilians, and its infrastructure from the rain of drones and missiles launched by Russia, in particular small Iranian drones. 136. And in doing so undoubtedly saved countless lives in the field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *