Tag Archives: Mikoyan MiG-29

Amid raising tension with Russia NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft visit eastern Europe

After Russia moved nuclear-capable missiles to NATO’s doorstep, NATO surveillance planes make cameo visit to Eastern Europe. And celebrate 1,000 missions.

On Oct. 11, a NATO E-3A AWACS visited Amari airbase, Estonia. Two days later another E-3 flew to  Siauliai, Lithuania: symbolic moves, that shows the alliance’s commitment to maintaining a persistent presence in Eastern Europe, where Russia has recently deployed nuclear-capable missiles.

The visit to Siauliai airbase, in Lithuania, main operating base of NATO’s BAP (Baltic Air Patrol) mission was preceded by a presentation of the NATO E-3 AWACS component E-3A at the 1st Airlift Base of the Polish Air Force in Warsaw. A visit that marked the surveillance plane’s 1,000th operational flight at NATO’s eastern flank since the beginning of Ukraine crisis.

The Boeing surveillance aircraft, one of the 16 E-3A AWACS planes based at Geilenkirchen, in Germany, was welcome to Warsaw by F-16 and MiG-29 jet fighters from the 31 and 23 Airbases of the Polish Air Force.


Besides the Director of the Arms Policy Department, Col. Karol Dymanowski, the E-3 visit to Poland was the opportunity to celebrate the 1,000 sorties of the NATO’s primary Airborne Early Warning & Control platform in eastern Europe with a meeting attended by Deputy Commander of the Polish Armed Forces, Div. Gen. Jan Śliwka, commander of the Geilenkirchen NATO E-3A Component Brig. Gen. Karsten Stoye, along with the crew of the AWACS aircraft.

Interestingly, 5 members of the multinational aircrew were Polish.

E-3A Sentry aircraft have been operating inside the Polish airspace since the 2000. Once Poland joined the NAPMO (NATO Early Warning and Control Program Management Organization) program, along with 15 other countries, Warsaw acquired a right to use the fleet of the 17 AWACS platforms that remain at the NATO’s disposal. Besides Geilenkirchen, the jets are also authorized to use the Polish airbases, such as the Powidz 33rd Airlift Base which is visited by them quite frequently.


AWACS airframes were involved in operations over Poland for the first time during the Fruit Fly/Eagle Talon exercise back in 2006, which was the first exercise with the participation of Sentry, following the acquisition of the F-16 Block 52+ jets, ten years ago On the other hand, the Geilenkirchen-based aircraft also provide support in organization of mass events, such as the Euro Football Cup organized back in 2012, or the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

This year, E-3A component participated in and supported the ANAKONDA-16 exercise, NATO Summit in Warsaw and the World Youth Day, as well as the Baltic Air Policing operation. According to the release issued by the Polish MoD, the Geilenkirchen component has also been closely cooperating with the Polish fighter pilots of the 1st and 2nd Tactical Aviation Wings, since 2015.

The operations undertaken by the airborne radar are also tied to a number of NATO initiatives, including the aforementioned BAP mission as well as the rotational presence of the NATO forces in the region, within the framework of the Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The E-3A airborne radar is available to the member states during the crisis, as well as during the exercises concerning the IADS (Integrated Air Defense System) or other significant allied training initiatives.


Image credit: Foto Poork’s Wojciech Mazurkiewicz


Polish F-16 Jets deploy for the first time to Estonia to take part in Baltic Exercise

For the first time ever, Polish F-16 jets deployed to Estonia to take part in the third edition of the Ramstein Alloy Exercise.

Ramstein Alloy is a two-day cyclic operation taking place in the Baltic region. The previous editions were hosted by Estonia and Latvia, this time, most of flying took place over Lithuania on Sept. 27-28.

The Polish Air Force took part in the drills with F-16 Block 52+ jets from the 31st AB in Krzesiny, near Poznan which were stationed at the Amari base in Estonia.

Along with the Polish Vipers, French Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters deployed to Siauliai, Lithuania as the lead NATO BAP (Baltic Air Patrol) nation, with German Air Force Eurofighters augmenting the BAP mission from Amari, Estonia, took part in the exercise.

Finland and Sweden, NATO partner nations, were also involved in the exercise as well as Baltic States that also contributed to the exercise: Lithuania, with its C-27J Spartan airlifters, and Latvia, that provided a Mi-17 helicopter to carry out SAR/CSAR operations.

The whole exercise was focused on the air policing/interception sorties, reconnaissance and provision of assistance to civil planes within the scope of emergency situations even though there was space for something more: for instance, the Polish jets were also engaged in CAS (Close Air Support) activities.

Ramstein Alloy was just the latest one of a series of activities and operations involving the Polish F-16s. abroad. Not only have the F-16 been deployed to the Middle East to fight Daesh (in a recce role, the relevant detachment from the Łask AB is stationed in Kuwait), but now they are also being deployed along the whole NATO’s Eastern Flank.

This may be considered as a rebuttal of those rumors suggesting that the Vipers operated by the Polish Air Force are not combat ready.

So far, the Polish Air Force has supported the BAP rotation with the MiG-29 Fulcrum for various reasons: from the assumption that the Fulcrum is less sensitive to FOD, through financial reasons, finishing with ELINT threat posed by the Russians.

Some claims also emerged, suggesting that Polish Vipers may not have had their AIDEWS suites updated hence unable to operate close to the Russian border.

The fact that the Polish F-16 jets have been deployed to Estonia has a double meaning then. First, it puts an end to the rumors regarding the potential lack of readiness of the Polish jets; second, it might be the sign that the Polish Vipers are being prepared to support the Baltic Air Policing operation next year, eventually replacing the old MiG-29 Fulcrums.

Image Credit: Wikimedia


This New Video Shows What It’s Like to Fly to the Stratosphere at Supersonic Speed in a Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum

Here’s what it’s like to prepare and fly to the Edge of Space in a MiG-29 Fulcrum.

The following footage was shot by famous aviation video producer Artur Sarkysian for MigFlug, the company that offers fighter jet flying experiences to their customers. Among them, the Edge of Space mission takes people who want to experience a kind of flying reserved to fighter pilots (or, in same cases, astronauts), with their MiG-29 Fulcrum.

According to MigFlug, the Edge of Space Flight – or Stratosphere Flight – has several unique features unavailable elsewhere:

– It’s the only possibility for everyone to break the sound barrier
– Supersonic flying with a top speed up to MACH 1.9
Altitude up to 20km/65,000ft altitude
– Aerobatics with G-Forces up to over 9g (!)

Noteworthy, the MiG-29UB climbs to such altitudes with a climb at the maximum speed in a huge parabola that helps “overshooting” the service ceiling of the famous famous Soviet-era jet (still serving in Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Poland, Syria and Iran, among the others).

Although the flight gives also “backseaters” the opportunity to control the aircraft, the experience does not only include the supersonic zoom to the limit of the stratosphere, as customers are introduced to the mission on the ground, provided the required briefing and flight gear, and then filmed during the sortie with various cameras.

For instance, the video below shows the flight as well as the preparation to it of Canadian Ferrari racecar driver, Ferrari club president and entrepreneur Josh Cartu.

If you don’t want to see the ground part, including the preparation for the flight, skip to min. 04.00.

The flying segment of the video was shot by Artur Sarkysian, a famous aviation video producer who attached a GoPro cameras to the two-seater Mig-29UB’s outer surfaces in such a way they could withstand speed up to 2450 km/h and a load factor of 9g!

Interestingly, in a clip we have published recently, the cameras even caught the shock wave on the Fulcrum’s wing as the aircraft thundered past Mach 1.0.




Stunning air-to-air photographs show Polish Su-22, F-16 and Mig-29 flying together

Polish Air Force Jets Up Close and Personal.

In June, in collaboration with the Polish General Command of Armed Forces, Foto Poork’s Filip Modrzejewski has been involved in an air-to-air photoshoot with the Polish Air Force Su-22 Fitter, F-16 Block 52+ and MiG-29 Fulcrum.

Noteworthy, this was also the very first time that the Polish jets were presented together, in a single flight.


Notably, the F-16 jet depicted by Modrzejewski is the 6th Fighter Squadron’s Tiger Demo Team display airframe, with the CFT (Conformal Fuel Tanks) mounted on top of the fuselage.


Moreover, the photoshoot also constituted the first opportunity ever to capture the Su-22 Fitters flying with the new, grey paint scheme, from an air-to-air perspective.



When it comes to the photoship used during the shoot which took place over the territory of Poland, the photographers were flying onboard a Polish Air Force Casa C-295M aircraft, using the back ramp of the cargo plane.





Filip was kind enough to share his shots with us, so that we are able to present you the images depicting the founding elements of the Polish fighter force like you’ve never seen them before.




Image Credit: Filip Modrzejewski / Foto Poork



All the pros and cons of Poznan Aerofestival 2016 airshow in Poland

Last weekend we have attended the second edition of the Poznan Aerofestival air show. And here’s a report.

After the last year’s moderate fiasco, with numerous organizational problems, many people were highly skeptical that the Aeropact company, collaborating with Poznan International Fair, would be able to tackle the challenge of organizing an international air show at a normally operating airport.


The ticket prices were lowered, in comparison with the last year’s event and this, supposedly, was to attract the disappointed audience, which had lost its trust in the Poznan show.

The organizers planned to squeeze the dynamic show in 720 minutes: the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, long before the show, issued several arrangements, according to which three blocks of flying were to be expected, with landings of the airliners between the display time slots.


The flight display was quite impressive, with the F-16 fighter jets dominating it.

Notably, the F-16 Falcon jet of the Polish Air Force attended the static display: this is an interesting highlight, since for the first time in 10 years of operational use of the jet, the fighter made a full-stop landing at Poznan-Ławica International Airport, arriving for the show.


The Viper’s maneuverability was widely demonstrated by several solo display team, including the Polish Tiger Demo Team, Belgian Air Component Solo Display and Soloturk, that operated from the Krzesiny Air Base, due to the maintenance requirements of the airframes.

Most probably, the logistical side of the air show was also easier to handle, having a fully operational F-16 base at hand.


When it comes to the Falcon demos, they were entirely different. The Turkish one seemed to be the most dynamic, since it had quite a flat profile, throughout most of its length. It also featured many flares. The Polish Tiger team, on the other hand, has shown more of the F-16’s power and spatial capabilities.

Additionally, looking at the Polish Air Force’s participation in the dynamic part of the show, one of the highlights was the Su-22 Role Demo Team, with the Fitters wearing the new, gray camouflage scheme.

Obviously, the Su-22’s display was not nearly as spectacular, especially when compared to the Falcon.

The Polish Air Force has also sent F-16, CASA C-295M, W3-R Sokół and M-28 Bryza aircraft, all of which formed the modest static display at the Aerofestival Air Show, together with Viggen and Saab 105 of the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight team (both of which also flew dynamic displays).

A few sentences should be written about the Viggen too. The jet gave a spectacular demonstration of its capabilities exhibiting its capacity to astonish; even though it is a historic aircraft, the raw power and noise made by the Volvo RM8 engine constitute a great highlight, that needs to be witnessed for appreciation.



Also from Scandinavia, the Grumman Ag-Cat Bi-Plane of the Scandinavian Airshow team performed a poetic and romantic display made even more interesting by the smoke coming out from the airplane, in red and white colors, corresponding with the Polish national colors. The smoke gave an impressionist appearance to the spectacular show formed by the great piloting skills exhibited by Jacob Hollander.

Another highlight of the show was the TS-11 Iskra display, with the Iskra coming from the Polish Air Force Academy. This aircraft, usually flown in a formation demonstration by the White-Red Sparks aerobatic team of the Polish Air Force, performed a solo display, handled by Sławomir Hetman.

The Polish Air Force also sent its Orlik Team to Poznan that was also stationed at the Krzesiny airbase.


The show also featured historic aircraft, including Yak-3 or Texan Trainer, both of which constituted an interesting added value, that contributed to the variety of the show.

When it comes to the aerobatic teams, the Aerofestival featured several smaller teams flying propeller driven aircraft, such as 3 AT-3 or The Victors, as well as the Baltic Bees Jet Team, showing some new formations and new flying programme which was premiered at Ławica.

Notably, the Żelazny Aerobatic Team, formed by Extra 330LC and Zlin aerobatic airframes, along with Fox sailplane, also took part in the dynamic display over Poznan.

When it comes to the show schedule, the only highly anticipated highlight that missed the event was the MiG-15, which could not attend the Aerofestival, due to the technical problems.

The organizers have solved most of the issues that occurred during the first edition of the show and added numerous highlights, including the fighter jets demonstration teams. The show announcer was also well prepared and provided substantial information to the spectators, without making any errors.

The only deficiency this year is the fact that the static display was quite modest.

Moreover, the air show was blessed with good weather.

If the tendency we have witnessed at Poznan is maintained, the organization continues to improve and the flying program becomes more attractive year by year, Aerofestival may become an important point on the European air show map.


Image Credit: Jacek Siminski
Orlik Team Image Credit: Agata Olech-Świadek (spfl.pl)