Is it even possible to equip MiG fighter jets with Western missiles? – Air Force answers
MiG-29 fighter aircraft (Photo:Bernie C/flickr.com)
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force revealed on national television on March 23 whether it is possible to equip Soviet MiG-29 fighters, currently used by Ukraine, with Western missiles.
Currently, Ukrainian MiGs have only been equipped with HARM missiles, an Air Force Command representative, Yuriy Ihnat, said.
These missiles have been striking enemy air defense systems for several months, but they do not yet have the full functionality that they could have if launched from the F-16.
“It would be many times more effective, work farther, more accurately, and destroy more anti-aircraft weapons,” Ihnat said.
According to recent reports, re-equipping the Soviet MiG-29s is proving to be complex, said Ihnat. It had been planned to upgrade the aircraft in one country, but the cost of tens of millions of dollars per aircraft and the significant amount of time required made it impractical.
“The equipment is physically old, and even Slovakia and Poland did not invest such funds. Minor modernization of aircraft has held, the communications system has been somewhat adapted to the NATO standard, GPS navigation, and the friend-foe identification system. But for wartime, this is not a significant modernization,” Ihnat added.
He said that integrating Western weapons on Soviet aircraft is theoretically possible, though no one is doing it.
Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on March 16 that the initial four MiG-29 fighter jets would be transferred to Ukraine by Warsaw in the upcoming days.
What is more, approval for transferring fighter jets to Ukraine was given by the Slovak government on March 17. Slovakia plans to send 13 MiG-29 fighters along with two Kub anti-aircraft missile systems, control systems, and spare parts and missiles.
Slovakia’s first four MiG-29 fighter jets arrived in Ukraine on March 23.
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