Restored Ukrainian MiG-29 Fulcrum With AGM-88 Missiles Now Sporting ‘Shark Mouth’

MiG-29 shark mouth
The "new" shark mouth on a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 (Image credit: WarbirdCrew Telegram Channel)

A Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum was given a shark mouth, a type of nose art often applied to aircraft flying in the SEAD role.

Some interesting images first shared online on Jan. 23, 2024, by the WarBirdCrew Telegram Channel, show a Ukrainian MiG-29 with a high-visibility shark mouth nose art.

Interestingly, the same aircraft appears to carry live AGM-88 HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile), a type of missile used to attack the radar of a SAM (Surface to Air Missile) in a typical SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) mission. The missile, previously employed by three NATO aircraft types only, the Tornado ECR, the F-16CM Block 50 and the F/A-18-EA-18G, was delivered by the U.S. to the Ukrainian Air Force back in the summer 2022, and integrated on the MiG-29 to enhance its SEAD capabilities, and later on the Su-27 too.

While its origins date back to WWI, the shark mouth has become a symbol of the SEAD role since the Vietnam War. Many combat aircraft hunting enemy radars with anti-radiation missiles have sported a shark mouth since a tradition that started with the F-105G tasked with the “Wild Weasel” role in SEA (South East Asia). Several units of the U.S. Air Force flying the F-4Gs and F-16Cs in the SEAD role as well as the U.S. Navy EA-6Bs and the Italian Air Force Tornado ECRs (just to name but few) have sported or still sport nowadays either a high-viz or a low-visibility sharkmouth.

As for Ukraine’s MiG-29s, the Ukrainian Air Force has already adorned its Fulcrum jets with a shark mouth in the past: at least one MiG-29 Fulcrum-C (25 White) of the 92nd Istrebitel’nyy Aviatsionnyy Polk (IAP; Fighter Aviation Regiment), at Vasylkiv Air Base near Kyiv, sported the peculiar nose art according to the book MiG-29 & MiG-35 by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov. Arguably, other Ukrainian MiG-29s had the shark mouth too.

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.