TechUkrainian MiG-29 fighter jet mistakenly downed by friendly fire

Ukrainian MiG‑29 fighter jet mistakenly downed by friendly fire

MiG-29 in Ukrainian colors, illustrative photo
MiG-29 in Ukrainian colors, illustrative photo
Images source: © @Osinttechnical
12:11 PM EDT, March 12, 2024

An online video captures the tragic moment a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet was brought down, seemingly a victim of so-called friendly fire, accidentally shot down by Ukrainian forces themselves. The incident raises questions about the aircraft and underscores the significant impact of its loss on the defenders' forces.

Initial reports of the Ukrainian MiG-29's downing surfaced last weekend, with the event occurring on March 8. Though there was initially scant information, Kyiv has yet to issue an official statement on the matter. However, based on available photos, analysts and commentators on the war in Ukraine have confirmed that the destroyed aircraft was, without doubt, a MiG-29.

The downing of the Ukrainian MiG-29

Several days after the incident, footage of the moment the aircraft was struck mid-flight emerged online. According to Ukrainian sources, the pilot was unable to eject in time. Evidence suggests that the MiG-29 was shot down not by Russian forces but by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense systems.

This is not the first instance of such a mistake occurring at the front. Previously, Russia experienced similar losses with its Su-25 and Su-35S aircraft, some of the most sophisticated in its fleet.

Regardless of the circumstances, the loss of the MiG-29 represents a significant setback for Ukraine. In the ongoing conflict, where Russian forces have maintained air superiority, each fighter jet is incredibly valuable. Despite the MiG-29's age, Ukrainian pilots have been able to use these aircraft effectively against Russian forces, proving them to be difficult targets. To date, the invaders have managed to shoot down only about 25 of these fighters, a figure that pales in comparison to their own losses.

The MiG-29 in Ukrainian service

The MiG-29 is a staple of the Ukrainian air force, with its own units in operation before the war and additional units received from allied countries. Countries such as Poland and Slovakia, for example, transferred their MiG-29s to Ukraine and, in return, received a discount from the United States on their purchase of the AH-1Z Viper helicopters.

Equipped with a GSz-30-1 30 mm cannon and a stockpile of 150 rounds, the MiG-29 also boasts six to nine external hardpoints for armaments, depending on the model. It can carry various weapons, including R-27 and R-73 air-to-air missiles or bombs. Furthermore, it is capable of reaching speeds of up to Mach 2.3 (over 1491 mph) and operating at altitudes of up to 57,414 feet.

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