SyAAF MiG-29-fleet is in bad shape, as obvious from the recent crash of MiG-29

A Syrian pilot who crashed-landed his plane in Turkish territory was recovered last Sunday morning by a Turkish rescue team and taken to a hospital reported Turkish media outlets.

A video recording allegedly capturing an airplane take-off, as well as a photograph taken near the crash site. According to him, the MiG-29SM crashed on March 5 after taking off from Shairat air base in the province of Homs. The pilot, Colonel Younes al-Makdid (Yunes Al-Makdid), died, the source said.

MiG-29s of various modifications have been supplied to Syria since 1987. According to open data, there are about 30 fighters of this model in the air force of the Syrian republic’s armed forces.

While no details on his condition have been released, the Turkish news agency Dogan reported that the pilot had been found 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the crash site. He was then taken to a police compound before being transferred to the Hatay region State Hospital.

Turkish officials said that the the MiG-29 aircraft, believed to belong to the Syrian military, crashed near the Turkey-Syria border Saturday night, with the Syrian opposition claiming to Turkish media that they were responsible for shooting the plane down.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that “we have information that a MiG model plane belonging to the Syrian regime” had crashed near the town of Samandag in Hatay province.

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Pics of Syrian pilot whose aircraft crashed yesterday, he is currently in custody of Turk forces and in hospital

All the reports about Syrian MiG-29s recently received R-77s missile from Russia and thus obtaining some kind of a previously non-available capability – are nonsense.

The Syrian MiG-29 fleet was overhauled and upgraded by the central overhaul facility at Nayrab AB, which is the military side of Aleppo International Airport back in 2011-2012.

The upgrade in question has brought their avionics to that of the MiG-29SM-like standard (mind: Izdliye 8.19, not the Izdeliye 9.13M, 9.17 or 9.19/9.19R). Means, they have received the N019ME phased array radar and thus became compatible with weapons like R-77 (aka RVV-AE, aka AA-12 Adder), but also with PGMs like Kh-29 (AS-14 Kedge).

However, and like MiG-29SEs exported to Yemen, they did not get that ‘hump’ with a 950-litre dorsal fuel tank, like Soviet/Russian MiG-29SMTs (or MiG-29SEs exported to Sudan, and MiG-29SMs exported to Peru, for example). Even less so have they got the FGM29 Zhuk-ME radar like MiG-29SMTs (Izdeliye 9.18) made for Yemen.

Correspondingly, it was already at the same time – back in 2011-2012 – that the Syrians also bought a batch of R-77s for their ‘new’ MiGs. This should have become obvious at least in 2013-2014, when first photos appeared of them carrying the AKU-170 and APU-58 launch rails.

That’s why all the stories about Syrian MiG-29s ‘now’ receiving R-77s are hogwash.

Indeed, when the Turks have shot down the Russian Su-24MK, on Nov. 24, 2015, the VKS had no own R-77s on stock. The reason was that – and as reported already years ago – Russia had no R-77s in production before 2016 (all R-77s manufactured before that date were made in Ukraine and for export purposes only). Thus, in its rush to improve the air-to-air armament of its own Su-30SMs, it borrowed some from the SyAAF.

The VKS might now have delivered a new batch of R-77s to the Assadists, but if so: then in order to replace the rounds it has borrowed in 2015. Moreover, this is neither a ‘new’ nor any kind of ‘special’ capability. Indeed, it’s changing nothing about the fact that the SyAAF’s MiG-29-fleet is once again in very poor condition, as obvious from the recent crash of the jet flown by Col. Yunes al-Makdid, near Shayrat AB.

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