MiG-29 superiors F-15 or F-16 in certain scenarios – Israeli pilot

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — Undoubtedly, the war in Ukraine provides answers for the future but also opens archives of the past. The supply of Western tanks “led the dance” for the supply of combat aircraft. Many models are speculated. The US F-16 is the most commonly assumed delivery model. Perhaps because there is a large amount of it in Europe and the US. The Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, and Gripen are the other fighters mentioned in the media as possible delivery to Ukraine.

Poland has delivered MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine but in parts
Photo by Edgar Grimaldo / USAF

However, no such deliveries are currently expected. Britain, France, and Sweden are considering such a possibility, while the US denies that the F-16 will be re-exported to Ukraine. Apparently, we will let time tell how far the west’s desire to defeat Russia will extend.

Despite the thousands of casualties in Ukraine and undoubtedly war as a “bad thing in the world”, the society hopes, even if secretly or hypocritically, to see some grand battles expected for more than decades. Undoubtedly, a potential dogfight between the F-16 and the MiG-29 is the highlight. Although, such a scenario is unlikely. Firstly, because direct air battles are rarely fought anymore, and secondly, because the F-16 may not end up in the sky over Kyiv.

Undoubtedly, there are many more modern fighters than the two mentioned, whose battle would be of interest. But the F-16 and MiG-29 were created in the Cold War era. They are designed to fight each other. The end of the historical path of the two combat aircraft cannot be awaited with interest.

Deep in the archives are simulated battles between F-16s, F-15s, and MiG-29s. Surprisingly, they were held within three days in Israel. In April 1997, three MiG-29s ended up in Israel. How and from where they appeared – there is a lot of speculation. Although defected pilots from Arab countries, including Syria, have landed their MiG-29s, Israel has never disclosed the origin of the three MiG-29s that landed together in the Middle East.

Poland has delivered MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine but in parts
Polish Air Force MiG-29 © Sunburn1979 on Wikimedia

According to some, these were Polish MiG-29s. They were piloted by Polish pilots. All signs and markings have been painted over or hidden. Everything was in Russian, recalls an Israeli test pilot.

‘Lt. Col. M,’ appears in the Israeli archives with his initials, without mentioning his full name. He talks about the challenge of boarding a plane that at the time was “the biggest nightmare” against American fighters. Moreover, in the era after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the MiG-29 was considered the best fighter in the world, Israeli archives write.

‘Lt. Col. M,’ recalls that the planes were scrutinized. He wasn’t so much excited about flying the MiG-29 as he was about all the eyes on him. The Israeli pilot recalls that on the day the MiG-29 first took off from the runway, everyone at the airport stopped work and watched the historic moment with interest.

A challenge was the Russian language and Russian voice commands. ‘Lt. Col. M’ says that many of the translations were done on the spot with dictionaries and improvisation. After a difficult flight, the crews conducted a three-hour analysis of the aircraft. At one point the Israeli Air Force decided to pit the F-15s and F-16s of their Air Force in a simulated battle against the MiG-29.

‘Lt. Col. M,’ recalls that the MiG-29 proved to be a “very, very serious opponent” against American fighters. “In certain scenarios, this aircraft was simply superior to our fighters,” says the pilot. ‘Lt. Col. M,’ will not forget the maneuverability of the Russian MiG. What makes a very strong impression on me is the thrust-to-weight ratio. According to ‘Lt. Col. M,’ at the time the MiG-29 was the only fighter in the world with such a “provided much higher thrust-to-weight ratio”.

‘Lt. Col. M’ doesn’t give details about the fight, but does say one line in an interview. The MiG-29’s advantage is “in a tight [turning] battle,” says the pilot. According to the Israeli lieutenant colonel, “Israeli pilots must be very careful against the MiG-29” and if “an experienced professional is piloting” in its cockpit, the Russian fighter jet is a deadly weapon.

The Israeli pilot also says the MiG-29 is “great” at close maneuvering. The ability of the fighter to make “sharp turns” is impressive, the interviewee recalled.

Another Israeli pilot participated in the tests – Maj. N. also tells his impressions. According to him, in the 1990s, the MiG-29 had an incredible IRST [infrared search and track] system. The pilot remembers that the MiG’s missile systems gave him an advantage. But also, says Maj. N., the MiG pilot’s helmet communicates very well with the fire control system, especially when firing an Archer missile.

Slovakia says goodbye to MiG-29s, and Ukraine hopes to get them
Photo credit: Global Look Press

Lt. Gen. G., the third participant in the MiG-29 tests says that the MiG-29 is an advanced fighter similar to the F-16 and F-15. This Israeli pilot says that the Russian engineers put the different parts together perfectly. Starting with the radar, going through the helmet-mounted display and ending with the missile systems.

The integration of heat-seeking missiles in combination with all of the above, “makes the MiG-29 a sophisticated weapons platform,” philosophically concludes Lt. Gen. G.


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