The pilot survived the first Polish MiG-29 crash since July 1989.
A Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum (“67” Blue, formerly known as “67” Red – the number was repainted after the overhaul) has crashed in the vicinity of the Minsk Mazowiecki airbase, while landing there on Dec. 18.
Police and Fire Department were dispatched to conduct the SAR operation. The pilot survived the accident, suffering minor injuries. Some sources suggested that the Fulcrum driver did not eject, contrary to the official statement from the Polish MoD, according to which the pilot successfully ejected from the aircraft.
Due to the fact that the crash took place in the middle of the forest, the SAR operation took some time, stated the commander of the 23rd Tactical Airbase, Col. Piotr Iwaszko. Iwaszko announced that at least 200 persons were involved in the SAR effort. After 90 minutes, the pilot was found. According to the report issued by Interia.pl the weather was too bad to use the SAR assets available at the Minsk airbase.
Contrary to some claims made by some journalists via Twitter, according to official sources, the MiG-29 involved in the accident was neither on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duty nor did it carry any missiles.
Polish National Commission for Aviation Accidents Investigation is bound to start the investigation of the event today.
Notably, this is the first ever crash of a Polish Air Force Fulcrum in history. The jets, have had a flawless track-record in the service, so far, flying with the Polish Air Force for nearly 3 decades. Along with the Soviet-era Su-22 Fitters, the MiG-29 Fulcrums will be replaced by the new multirole combat plane procured within the “Harpia” program, launched on Nov. 23, 2017.
Image Credit: Jacek Siminski
Only those who benefit by selling Poland new equipment would stand in the way of a Gen 4+ upgrade program for Mig-29 platforms in the European Union/NATO nations and candidate NATO nations, which would wish to participate in the program. In the event such a program were to move forward one country would lead a multi-disciplined team in the redesign effort, and the participants would bring items to the rebuild for which they had an expertise. Germany or Poland would need to provide Program Management with participants from the other nations that would provide qualified elements to the rebuild.
A Gen 4+ Combat Capability would be very relevant for some time to come, and be a very capable platform for NATO operators at a lower cost vs. buying new equipment. That program, if appropriately organized and operated, would provide a boost to the participants.
Just my 2ȼ.
Only Poland, Bulgaria, and Slovakia would initially count as far as extant EU/Nato operators. That’s less than 100 aircraft, and more likely about 50 that aren’t spares/hulks, or have adequate spares. You could wrap in the Ukraine I guess and from there other former client state fleets to bump that up though. Maybe. It gets hard to quantify between those operators who still get direct support from Russia, and those who get support from Ukraine.
A real threat of being much less than lucrative once competition factors in along with limited domestic purchases. For the Euro states that can actually muster industrialization to make new components, why should they lock their efforts into a Soviet – era design and methodology that has finite limits?
If they went with a Western-Euro, American, or Scandinavian product, they could end up in a situation where their local industry is making components for that- and/or since they’d be technology-aligned, – manufacture components for other west-hemisphere aerospace endeavours. Poland’s PZL Swidnik already makes UH-60 components and copters as part of exSikorsky – Lockmart.