Tag Archives: Mikoyan MiG-29

Ukrainian Mig-29 Fulcrum jets getting new digital color scheme

Ukrainian Air Force Mig-29s are being painted with a trendy digital camouflage

In the last few months, aircraft enthusiasts spotting military jets operating at the Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant have taken photographs of at least three Mig-29 Fulcrum fighters (two single seaters and a two seater Mig-29UB) sporting a trendy “pixelated” camouflage.

The three aircraft are among the airframes that were dismantled at Belbek airbase, near Savastopol, and relocated to the mainland Ukraine, when Russian forces invaded Crimea.

The Mig-29s were reassembled and put back to flight status to replace the Fulcrums downed during the clashes with pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. But, before they the rest of front line fleet of the Ukrainian Air Force, the jets are getting a brand new, more modern, “digital” color scheme.

Such digital camouflage vaguely reminds the paint job on the U.S. Navy’s 100 years of Naval Aviation special colored F/A-18F Super Hornet.

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Image credit: Oleg Volkov/spotters.net.ua

 

Analysis of Ukrainian Air Force Losses in eastern Ukraine clashes

It’s hard to say how many aircraft the Ukrainian Air Force has lost.

Some reports, especially those on the pro-separatists side seem to be a bit exaggerated but, as Ainonline website reported, on the basis of Ukrainian and British sources, the Ukrainian Air Force has lost 22 aircraft throughout the crisis.

Ukrainian military aviation had not been in a very good shape before the hybrid-conflict with the separatists started, and any losses may be considered to be severe.

The total loss count includes 9 combat planes, 3 cargo planes and 10 helicopters, most of which have been shot down with MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems) and, in case of some of the lost helicopters, with rocket propelled grenades.

In total, the UAF conducted 740 sorties during the operation, which is dubbed by the Kiev government to have an “anti-terrorist” character.

Starting from losses within the group of combat planes, one Su-24 Fencer, six Su-25 Frogfoots and two MiG-29 Fulcrums have been lost, where one of the Fulcrums was reportedly shot down by a Russian MiG-29.

The cargo planes which have been lost include single examples of An-26 Curl, An-30 Clank and Il-76 Candid. The Curl was reportedly hit by a Buk missile system; the same type of anti-aircraft system behind the downing of MH17 flight (according to most analysts). The Il-76 mentioned above was shot down in Luhansk, and it was a Candid in a flight of three such planes landing at Luhansk at the time. The first Candid made a safe landing, while the crew of the last one aborted landing.

The British sources state that lack of proper flight experience and intelligence data was the main reason for the incurred losses. The ECM systems on the Ukrainian jets have been made in Russia, which means that they were easy to overcome. According to the Polish outlet altair.com.pl, the Western countries were asked to supply new electronic countermeasures, however in fear of these being intercepted by the Russians, they were never delivered.

In the light of the analysis of the potential of the Ukrainian Air Force conducted by Dr Sean Wilson, which has been published in the Polish “Lotnictwo” magazine last year, the above losses may be considered to be significant.

According to Wilson, Ukraine, back in 1992, inherited 3,600 aircraft, including 850 helicopters, out of which 285 assault choppers and 2,750 aircraft, out of which 1,650 were combat planes. Back in 2013 the estimated data suggested that out of these numbers only 200 combat aircraft were in active service and about 70 were combat capable.

At that time, the fleet consisted of 15-20 MiG-29 Fulcrums, 10-12 Su-24M/MR Fencers, 14-18 Su-25 Frogfoots and 16 Su-27 Flankers. 16 MiG-29’s, 4 Su-24’s and 15 Su-25 were to be withdrawn by 2015.

Reports claim that 80 Frogfoots remain in active service and at least 14 are combat-capable. Which may be a significant notion, as the number is almost as high as the number of Frogfoots which were to be withdrawn.

Ukraine also had 66 examples of Su-27 Flankers, respectively 40 Su-27S Flanker-B’s (which are capable of conducting air-to-ground sorties), and 26 Su-27P Flanker-B’s (interceptor variant) and Su-27UB Flanker-C’s (two-seater). 36 of these were to remain in active service, while 16 were to be fully operational.

All of the Flankers are being currently used as interceptors. Modernization of these has been planned, and some examples have been updated before the conflict started.

When it comes to cargo planes, Ukrainians inherited 180 Candid-B transport aircraft, however, not many of these remained active. Two examples of An-30 Clanks were said to be still flying within the Open Skies program. About 20 Il-78 air tankers have been also a part of the post-Soviet inheritance; nonetheless the refueling equipment on these has been removed and maximally 8 of them remained active back in 2013 in a cargo role.

When it comes to the qualitative side of the analysis, the Ukrainian AF undertook several modernization programs for both fighters and attack aircraft. The modernizations included new avionics and navigational systems based on both GPS, as well as on its Russian counterpart – GLONASS.

Still, the Ukrainian Air Force suffered considerable losses during such a limited conflict a sign that the weapons in the hands of the separatists have been extremely effective against Kiev’s combat planes and helicopters so far.

Image credit: Wiki

North Korea’s Mig-29 Fulcrum jets getting new paint scheme

Photos of a North Korean Mig-29 operating from a highway shows the Fulcrum with a brand new color scheme.

A series of images released by North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) show Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un attending Korean People’s Army Air Force’s latest highway drills.

Among the aircraft involved in the drills there is also a Mig-29.

Interestingly, the Fulcrum sports a new color scheme: whereas the bottom of the fuselage has kept the light blue color, the top has been painted with a two-tone gray color scheme.

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Here below you can see the “old” livery of North Korea’s Mig-29s.

Mig-29 old livery

It’s not clear whether the new livery is temporary, or it is going to become a standard within North Korea’s fleet; in 2013, KPAF changed the camouflage of some Il-76s belonging to the state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea Air Koryo to reinforce the flying parade over Pyongyang.

Image credit: KCNA

H/T to @CombatAir for the heads-up

 

Video shows what aerial combat looks like from aboard a Bulgarian Mig-29 Fulcrum

Rare footage shot from the cockpit of a Bulgarian Air Force Mig-29 Fulcrum during a mock dogfight.

On Oct. 11, the Bulgarian Air Force celebrated its 102nd anniversary with an air show at Sofia. One of the highlights of the event was the demo by a Mig-29 Fulcrum jet piloted by VVS gen. Rumen Radev who first performed a “Cobra maneuver” and then engaged another aircraft of the same type in a mock aerial dogfight.

The following video will bring you aboard an aging but still maneuverable Bulgarian Fulcrum during simulated air combat training with some interesting HUD (Head Up Display) footage.

One interesting thing worth a mention is the type of helmet worn by the pilot, quite obsolete and much less advanced than the standard JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) and similar helmet mounted display systems used by modern western warplanes.

H/T to Simeon Miloushev for the heads-up

 

The most interesting aircraft displayed at the Belgian Air Force Days

Here are some stunning photos of the Belgian Air Force Days, held at Kleine Brogel airbase.

On Sept. 13 – 14, Kleine Brogel airbase, in Belgium, hosted the Belgian Air Force Days, an airshow attended by several interesting local and foreign aircraft whose main themes were the +100 years of Military Air Power and the 40th anniversary of the F-16.

The air show, preceded by a Spotter Day on Sept. 12, was particularly interesting, as it featured not only the usual solo display of several aircraft types, including the Dassault Rafale and the Mig-29, but also a tactical event whose aim was to provide the spectators a better insight on the how the Belgian Air Force is integrated in a NATO operation: the BAF set up a fictional scenario based on the current PSO (Peace Support Operations) in Afghanistan, within which 10 F-16 jets, supported by A-109 and Mi-24 helicopters, B-Hunter UAV (from 80th UAV squadron of the BAF) and NATO E-3A AWACS demonstrated some of their capabilities to the public.

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Among the most interesting aircraft that took part in the BAF Days there were two Slovak Air Force Mig-29s, a single seater and a two-seat aircraft (the latter in static display only) belonging to the N° 1 Squadron. The Slovak Air Force is equipped with 12 Mig-29s based at Sliac.

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Even the Polish Air Force flew its Mig-29 Fulcrum, an aircraft they have used to provide Baltic Air Policing until Sept. 1.

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Another interesting aircraft was the F-16C Block 52+ of the Hellenic Air Force Solo Demonstration team “Zeus” from Souda Bay airbase, in Crete. The team, formed in 2009, flew its first official demo flight in November 2010 and has so far made only a few overseas appearances.

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Other highlights of the show included the special colored F-16 of the Solo Turk, the Turkish Air Force F-16 demo team, the Mirage 2000Ns of the RAMEX Delta display team of the French Air Force, the Dutch F-16 and AH-64 demo teams, the F-16 solo display of the Belgian Air Component, as well as the 7-ship Alpha Jet from 11sm formation of the Belgian Air Force.

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Several display teams took part in the show. Along with the world-famous Frecce Tricolori, Red Arrows and Patrouille de France, that have been flying for 50 years, there were also the PC-7 Team, the Team Breitling, the Royal Jordanian Falcons and a relatively new team on the airshow scene: the United Arab Emirates air force’s Al Fursan, or “The Knights”.

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The team flies six MB-339 trainers, the same aircraft as the Frecce Tricolori the team that helped the Al Fursan display team, in an attractive black and gold colour scheme, symbolizing the desert with oil underneath, with the colours of the United Arab Emirates’ flag on the bottom of the planes. The flag’s colours are also the colours of their smoke: white, red, green and black.

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All the images in this post were taken by The Aviationist’s photographer Alessandro Fucito during the BAF Days.

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Image credit: The Aviationist’s Alessandro Fucito