Brazil will retire its Mirage 2000s by the end of year, several Brazilian media announced this week. The twelve Mirages, compromising single- and two-seaters were bought from France for a sum of 80 million USD. The aircraft are nearing the end of their service-life.
The Brazilian Deltas started service in Brazil only in 2005, and were originally meant to be in service until 2011. Two years were added to that, but now the end is nearby. The aircraft will be temporarily replaced by up to twelve F-5M fighters, modernized by Embraer. Some time in the future the Brazilian government will decide upon a definitive replacement aircraft. Candidates are the Boeing Super Hornet, Saab Gripen NG and the Dassault Rafale.
The first of 16 modernised Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft is back on duty with the Polish Air Force. The single-seater with number 89 landed at Minsk Mazowiecki Airbase at the end of July. A second modernised Fulcrum will soon follow, according to a press release by the Polish Air Force (Siły Powietrzne).
Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 2 and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) together upgrade the Fulcrums, 13 single-seaters (MiG-29A) and 3 two-seaters (MiG-29UB). The modernisation mainly concerns the pilot’s office, since the aircraft themselves have already been refurbished to last another 4,000 flight hours each. The biggest eye-catcher is a new multi-function display, clearly visible on the image published at the Polish Air Force website.
Four French Air Force Mirage F1-CRs started their last month of patrolling the Baltic Sea. They have been operating from Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania since April 30th, 2013, as part of NATO’s commitment to protect the airspace of its most northeastern member states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
It are not always fancy Russian Bears or Blackjacks that ‘need’ an intercept, as is shown by a mission report of July 22nd released by the Armée de l’Air .
,,At 20:15 the sirens go off at Šiauliai airbase. Two Mirage F1-CRs take off for a mission to identify a ,,bogey” over the Baltic Sea. During this mission a light aircraft registered in Italy was intercepted, identified and escorted. It first was seen performing what could be interpreted as evasive maneuvers and it failed radio contact with air traffic control. Upon establishing radio contact with the Mirage F1-CR patrol, the French fighters escorted the intercepted airplane to its landing at Ventspils, Latvia.”
It is July 29th today – and let’s just call this day International MiG-29 Day from now on. Yeah! Inspired by our recent digging up of ol’ F-4 Phantom shots, we started looking for some Fulcrums as well since we feel Phantoms and Fulcrums are sort of ‘in the same category’: the category of King of Cool, that is. Here are some hot shots.
We like Poland and we like MiG-29s. Good combo right there.
Hungary is great too! Both its capital Budapest and its MiG-29s. Good combo again!
For more than a decade, Germany used a bunch of Fulcrums that were leftovers from the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA), otherwise known as the East German army. The German MiG-29s were eventually sold to Poland, although a few are preserved in Germany.
These guys are a bit rare, but have shown up in Dutch viewfinders before … Serbia operates a few Fulcrums and did so during the 2012 Batajnica airshow near Belgrade – a city we loved spending some time in while enjoying some Jelen beer.
Next up is a Slovakian MiG-29. We like the Slovaks – simply because they are still flying these things.
Bulgaria sent a MiG-29UB to the 2011 Izmir Airshow, and AIRheads↑FLY was there to capture it and enjoy some of that fine Turkish food and weather.
MiG-29s come in flocks too! One such flock is called Team Strizhi in Russian, or Team Swallows for non-Russian speakers.
Always finish with a rarity is our motto. We anticipate this is rare enough for a grande finale: