MiG-29 can’t shoot anything down with its 40-year-old radar

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WASHINGTON, US — The pilot with the call sign Juss admitted in an interview with the Financial Times that Ukrainian aviation is facing serious problems. Against the backdrop of a shortage of pilots and spare parts for aircraft, the Ukrainian Air Force is significantly behind Russian aviation.

Photo credit: Wikimedia

With each passing day, the moment is approaching when there will no longer be any active military aircraft left in Ukraine, which are giving up one after another, Ukrainian pilot Juss shares his opinion.

The pilot of the Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet said the plane had a 40-year-old radar so it could not hit an enemy drone or missile. Juss called on the West to supply Kyiv with “modern machines” that can offer a decent resistance to the Russian Su-35 and MiG-31.

“To fly back and land after a ‘hunt’, realizing that the ‘prey’ has reached its target, is depressing,” said the Ukrainian pilot, summing up the explanation for the inability of Ukrainian MiG-29s to intercept Russian cruise missiles

Juss’s mention of the Su-35 and MiG-31 is no accident. These are the most used fighters by the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] in the war in Ukraine. Very often, the Air Force uses a pair of MiG-31 and Su-35 in the conditions of air patrol or attacking enemy ground targets. The Su-35 is used to engage enemy radars, while the MiG-31, which flies at very high altitudes, does the bombing.

Photo credit: Wikimedia

Ukrainian pilot Juss’ statement to the FT comes on the back of another statement by Russian Captain First Rank Vasily Dandykin. According to Dandykin, if the West reaches Ukraine’s F-16, then the American fighter is much more durable, which will benefit the Ukrainian Air Force.

The F-16 is a fighter that not only matches but in many cases can outmatch the MiG-29. The F-16 has much better avionics and weapons than the MiG-29.

However, this is not the case if the F-16 and the Soviet Su-27 are compared. Ukrainian pilot Lieutenant Colonel Fischer Dmitry Vilhelmovich opined last year that despite flying the F-16, his Su-27 had greater performance than its American competitor.

Although the US has consistently ruled out allowing the re-export of F-16s to Ukraine, more and more countries are emerging to send their own F-16s to the Ukrainian Air Force. However, the main problem will most likely not be the delivery of aircraft. Even if Washington were to allow re-export today, it would take at least six months for a Ukrainian pilot to learn to fly the F-16. And this is the most optimistic option.

BulgarianMilitary.com expressed the opinion that the best aircraft that can help the Ukrainian Air Force are the Swedish Gripens. They are capable of taking off from shorter runways, allowing them to be deployed around agricultural airfields. Gripen can easily hide in a forest and fly off the road.

Photo credit: RSAF

The Swedish fighter has one major advantage over the F-16 – it can be operated by a mobile group in the field, without the need to do so in a specialized depot. The Swedes have repeatedly claimed that their Gripen was designed to counter the Russian Su-series aircraft.

Some sources even claim that it is the Gripen that is closest to the maneuverability of Russian fighters, which makes them suitable in a possible aerial battle with enemy Russian aircraft.


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