Poland to transfer four MiG-29 jets to Ukraine in the coming days

Gastón Dubois

MiG-29 Poland

Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, informed the press that in the coming days his country will send four MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters to Ukraine, becoming the first ally of Kiev to take this significant step.

The announcement was made during a conference held within the framework of the official visit of Czech Republic President Petr Pavel to Warsaw to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two nations and to discuss aspects related to the war in Ukraine.

Asked by a journalist about the transfer of Polish MiG-29s to Ukraine, President Duda commented:

“As a first step, literally in the next few days, we are actually transferring, as far as I remember, four aircraft to Ukraine, they are in full working order. The remaining planes are being serviced and prepared at the moment, and will probably be handed over gradually..”

A few days ago, the Polish and Slovak governments had expressed their intention to donate their MiG-29s to Ukraine, as part of a consensual effort among Kiev’s allies and NATO members. This is not the first time that such expressions have been heard regarding the provision of more combat aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force, but so far it had not been possible to move from intention to practice, given the lack of agreement between the governments of the “Western bloc” countries.

Poland being one of the main promoters of providing the maximum possible assistance to Ukraine and having, in part, taken a leading role in convincing the rest of its NATO allies to deliver ever heavier and more technologically advanced weaponry, is once again taking the lead and is the first country to commit to providing its fighter jets.

OTAN
Ukrainian MiG-29, before the outbreak of war.

The choice of the MiG-29, President Duda remarked, is because the Ukrainian Air Force already operates this model and Ukrainian pilots do not require any additional training to fly and use it in combat.

The Polish MiG-29

Poland has about 20 operational MiG-29s, of which 13 single-seat MiG-29As and 3 MiG-29UBs received life extension work and were modernized with assistance from the Israeli company IAI, mainly to bring their communications suite up to NATO standards.

The modernization included new INS/GPS navigation equipment, a 5×4-inch color multifunction display, new HUD, new mission computer, new UHF/VHF Rockwell Collins RT-8200 radios (including Have Quick I/II encoding modes and UHF Anti-Jam Radio) and a NATO-compliant friend-foe identification system (IFF), all integrated by a MIL-STD-1553B digital data bus.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A Fulcrum

President Duda clarified that these fighters will soon be replaced in their air defense role by the recently acquired KAI FA-50s, to be joined later by fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35As.

Given this first step, it is logical to expect that other NATO MiG-29 operators, such as Slovakia, will follow Poland’s example and place their ex-Soviet fighters at Ukraine’s disposal.

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