It is ironic that Ukraine is about to get its hands on some additional MiG-29 fighter jets … jets that were designed in Russia.
Ever wonder how they came up with the acronym “MiG”? It is the initials of aeronautics design bureau founders Artem Mikoyan (M) and Mikhail Gurevich (G), joined by “i”, which means “and” in Russian.
Back in 1982 when the MiG-29 was first introduced, its speed and agility were praised, but it suffered from poor range, due to low fuel capacity and extremely thirsty engines.
Later variants of the MiG-29 were adapted to include a large dorsal spine to carry extra fuel; however, the additional fuel and increased weight affected performance. In the post-Cold War era, the MiG-29 fell out of favor, replaced by larger, more powerful fighter jets. That said, many countries still have MiG-29s in service.
In the US, two of them are held privately – one by billionaire Jared Isaacman (acquired from the estate of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen) and 1 by Raven Aerospace.
Various versions of Russian Sukhoi (SU) fighter jets are expected to challenge Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s new (used) MiG-29s that were recently provided by Poland and Slovakia.
Sukhoi is the name of Russian aircraft designer Pavel Sukhoi. The initials “SU” have nothing to do with (S)oviet (U)nion. Surprisingly, Russia is not always about Russia: it assigns the names of manufacturers to military aircraft, not names to further promote the Russian Federation or its strong arm persona.
Let’s see how this dog fight ends. With US military aid to Ukraine (excluding weapons and equipment) vastly outflanking all other NATO countries, there is no question that the protection of Ukraine’s multiple shared borders is a highly political and sensitive subject.
Neither Poland nor Slovakia are acting alone or entirely out of the goodness of their hearts. But jet fighters, regardless of their use, are a beauty to behold and a technological wonder.