Warplanes: November 22, 2003


Last September, at the NATO training base in Sardinia, German MiG-29s fought simulated air battles with Israeli F-15Is (similar to two seater U.S. F-15Es) and single seat F-15Ds. The agile MiG-29s, with their "see and shoot" helmet systems, fought the well trained Israeli pilots to a draw. The German MiG-29 pilots are probably the best to ever fly that type of aircraft, as the Germans get much more air time than any other nation using the MiG-29. The Germans also brought along some of their F-4Fs, which were able to down one Israeli F-15 with a long range AMRAAM, plus some fancy flying and clever use of radar and counter measures. There was no official "score" for the exercise, because many of the engagements were deliberately lopsided, or terminated once the training objectives were met. This was the last time German pilots will be able to use their MiG-29s in this kind of exercise. The MiGs are being sold to Poland, which already has its own MiG-29s. The MiGs were expensive for the Germans to maintain, but lower labor rates and a larger inventory of spare parts will enable the Poles to operate the MiG-29s more efficiently. 


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