Polish MiG-29 fighters have been modernized locally and by Israel

WARSAW, POLAND — Poland’s decision to donate its MiG-29s to Ukraine leads us logically to the question: how modernized are these fighters. Because Poland, as a NATO member and one of the few existing operators, should have made improvements years ago.

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

After all, Poland has been a member of the alliance for years and their MiG-29s have been used in NATO exercises for years. Another question must also be answered: are they all modernized or not.

In fairness, it should be noted that a significant part of the MiG-29 fighter of the NATO countries is operated by the Air Force of Poland. That is why an earlier part of the fleet of Polish MiG-29 fighters was updated to NATO standards.

Most of the MiG-29 aircraft in 2011-2014 was modernized at the repair base of the Polish aviation industry Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze Nr. 2 in close cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI], the Israeli aerospace industrial complex.

Modernization includes

The aircraft received new avionics, radar, navigation, and communication systems, including a GPS satellite channel and an onboard computer with digital video and audio recorders for debriefing. The most significant change in the cockpit was a new onboard complex with a HUD display and a multi-function head indicator.

Also, the upgraded Polish MiGs gained the ability to use NATO aviation weapons, including compatibility with the US AGM-88 HARM high-velocity anti-radar missiles, AIM-9 short-range infrared homing air-to-air missiles, and early modifications of missiles from medium-range air-to-air class AIM-120 with a target engagement range of up to 70 km.

In addition, Polish upgraded MiG-29 fighters can use American JDAM and JDAM-ER-guided bombs. Earlier, 15 modernized MiG-29 fighters were deployed at the 23rd Minsk-Mazovetsky Air Base.

The remaining 13 Polish MiG-29 fighters were stationed at the 22nd Air Base in Malbork. These machines did not undergo significant modernization and were brought up to alliance standards only by fine-tuning the radar and communication systems, as well as the introduction of a NATO friend or foe identification system.

Sabotaged MiG-29s

Earlier, BulgarianMilitary.com reported that Slovakian MiG-29s scheduled for delivery to Ukraine were sabotaged. The saboteurs were Russian technicians who had been working on their maintenance for the past year. They were employed on a long-term basis by the Slovak Ministry of Defence.

According to a statement by Slovakia’s Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad, Russian technicians sabotaged parts of the fighter, which resulted in the following state – able to fly, but unable to fight. However, Mr. Nad assured that the sabotage was overcome and Ukraine has the technical capabilities to bring the Slovak MiG-29s to operational readiness.

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