Up Close And Personal With The Su-27UB Flanker At The National Museum Of U.S. Air Force

Su-27 USAF museum
The ex-Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 on display at the NMUSAF. (All images, credit: Jason Camlic)

Here’s a walkaround of the Su-27 recently added to the U.S. Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio.

The former Ukrainian Air Force Su-27UB Flanker C recently acquired by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is now on display in the Cold War Gallery of the museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Originally in service with the 831st GvIAP of the Ukrainian Air Force in Mirgorod as “61 Blue” (c/n 96310408027, f/n 05-02, built on Mar. 30 1988), in 2009, it was bought, along with “66 Blue”, demilitarized and transported to the United States inside an An-124 to be delivered to Pride Aircraft in Rockford, Illinois. Once in the U.S., the Su-27s were given the civilian registrations N132SU and N131SU, respectively.

After Pride imported the Flanker in August 2009, it was registered to Meridican, a company based in Delaware that “offers years of experience in the brokerage and acquisition of specialized military hardware, including aircraft”.

A certificate of airworthiness was issued to the company by the FAA in December 2009; a second COA was issued for the Su-27 in 2010 to Tactical Air Support, a company that provides contract adversary air services to U.S. military forces.

The aircraft, based at Rockford airport, Illinois, were operated for some years by Tactical Air Support retaining their Ukrainian splinter camouflage, only replacing Ukrainian insignia on the tail with the company’s logo and the “61 Blue” tactical code with a new “32 Blue”.

The aircraft were later sold again and continued to operate from Rockford, this time without any involvement in contractor work, until their airworthiness certificates expired in 2013. Both Flankers were then removed from the US register in 2018. What they were used for until the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force managed to acquire “32 Blue” is not clear. Someone believes the TacAir has continued to operate the SU-27 for adversary services or that the Flankers were transferred to the U.S. Air Force to perform similar activities as part of a foreign material exploitation program.

Our reader and friend Jason Camlic visited the NMUSAF and took the following images of the Su-27. All stenciling on the aircraft is in English. The Ukrainian badge, is the one of the Zaporozhye State Aircraft Repair Plant “MiGremont”.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.