The Ukrainian Air Force and Army Aviation are putting aircraft from the reserves, like MiG-29 fighter jets and Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters, back into action. Military personnel of the Ivano-Frankivska tactical aviation brigade are returning the long-term stored Fulcrums back in flying condition.
Most recently a MiG-29UB two-seater plane went through flights and post-maintenance checks. According to us at AIRheads↑Fly, at least another eight Fulcrums at Ivano-Frankivska could be returned to flying condition. Currently the active strength at the base is an estimated 18 to 20 MiG-29s and four L-39 advanced training jets/light attack aircraft.
The Ukrainian air force lost possibly 12 operational and up to 28 stored MiG-29s and at least a pair of active L-39s when Russian forces took control of Belbek Airbase at the Crimea (Krim) in March 2014.
The country’s interim president Alexander Turchynov confirmed on 2 April 2014 during a press meeting at the 169 Training Centre in Chernigov the relatively sorrow state of the armed forces. “During the past four years, the Ukrainian army has been systematically destroyed and disarmed. In light of the beginning of the aggression against our country and the occupation of the Crimea, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were brought to a state of full alert first. Now the task is to start the upgrading.”
Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh said earlier that of the 507 combat planes and 121 attack helicopters active, in reserve and long-term stored within the Air Force respectively Army Aviation, only 15 percent are serviceable. Calculating in the lack of training of personnel the combat readiness drops even further to about 10 percent.
Ukraine is trying hard to get the necessary funds to improve the armed forces readiness and has even turned to the country’s people and companies. At 3 April 2014 the fundraising campaign Support the Ukrainian army accumulated about 78 million US dollar transferred as financial aid by businesses and individuals. The value of another of couple of million dollars was donated in the form of medical supplies and food, including 25,000 MRE’s (meals ready to eat) from the United States.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger