The first of possibly 30 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29s formerly based at Belbek Airbase at the Crimea (Krim) has or have been put back together to enter service with the Ukrainian Air Force on 1 August 2014. The aircraft were sent by the Russians in pieces, by train or truck.
Ukraine had 39 MiG-29 fighter jets (NATO-reporting name Fulcrum) and and several Aero Vodochody L-39 advanced trainers at Belbek near Sevastopol when Russian forces took the airbase and subsequently the entire Crimean peninsula in February and March 2014. Many of the planes were not airworthy at the time, but seven MiG-29 single-seaters, two MiG-29UB double-seaters and three L-39s were in such good operational state that the Russian have so far not returned them to Ukraine.
The pieces of Fulcrums that have passed the Crimean-Ukrainian border implemented by Russia have been re-assembled at the Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant. Rebuild MiG-29s will slowly return to active duty with the Ukrainian Air Force’s Fulcrum units at Vasilkova and Ivano-Frankivsk. Pilots previously stationed at Belbek already have taken up flight training since April.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence the country’s technicians are working on getting 68 previous mothballed or returned combat aircraft back to duty, including Su-27s, Su-24Ms, Su-25s and An-26s. Moreover, the Ukrainian Army Aviation is working hard to increase its number of Mi-24 attack and Mi-8 tactical transport helicopters by fixing reserved examples.
Source: Ukrainian Ministry of Defence with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger