Category Archives: Fighters

End of life for Brazilian Deltas

The twelve Brazilian Mirage 2000s were bought from France. Pictured here is a Mirage 2000 operated by the Armée de l'Air. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The twelve Brazilian Mirage 2000s were bought from France. Pictured here is a Mirage 2000 still operated by the Armée de l’Air. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

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.

Source: Força Aerea Brasileira

Check out the Brazilian Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

First modernised Polish MiG-29 back on duty

A Polish Air Force MiG-29A Fulcrum taking off from Berlin-Schönefeld during an airshow in 2008. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Polish Air Force MiG-29A Fulcrum taking off from Berlin-Schönefeld during an airshow in 2008. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

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.

Source: Siły Powietrzne

Check out the Polish Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

Last month for Baltique Mirage F1s

Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) Mirage F1 (tailnr 655) during an earlier exercise (Image © Marcel Burger)
Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) Mirage F1 (tailnr 655) during an earlier exercise (Image © Marcel Burger)

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.”

About 80 personnel support the French Mirage F1 operations over La mer Baltique. The Belgian Air Component takes over the job in September.

Source: Armée de l’Air

Check out the French Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

Overview: the Air Forces of Denmark

Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) (Flyvevåbnet) status as of July 2013


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Active number of aircraft: 93

  • 17x Lockheed Martin F-16AM single-seat multi-role fighter
  • 13x Lockheed Martin F-16BM dual-seat multi-role fighter
  • 4x Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules tactical transport aircraft
  • 3x Canadair CL-604 Challenger sea and fishery patrol & VIP transport aircraft
  • 27x Saab T-17 (MFI-17) training and observer/scout aircraft
  • 14x Agusta Westland EH-101 tactical transport & search and rescue helicopter
  • 8x Eurocopter AS 550 C2 Fennec observation & scout helicopter
  • 7x Westland Lynx Mk 90B naval support helicopter

Airbases (Flyvestation): 5

  • Aalborg

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    • C-130 (Eskadrille 721)
    • CL-604 (Eskadrille 721)
    • EH-101 (SAR)
    • T-17 (Flyveskolen, 4x)
  • Karup

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    • T-17 (Flyveskolen, 20x)
    • EH-101 (Eskadrille 722)
    • Lynx Mk 90B (Eskadrille 723)
    • AS 550 Fennec (Eskadrille 724)
  • Skrydstrup

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    • F-16AM/BM (Eskadrille 727 / Eskadrille 730)
    • EH-101 (SAR)
    • T-17 (Flyveskolen, 3x)
  • Roskilde

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    • EH-101 (SAR)
    • Sea King Mk 43 (330 skvadron)
  • Sønderstrømfjord (Greenland)

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    • CL-604 (det. Esk 721, 1x)

Source: Flyvevåbnet

Time for Twentynine

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.

Was at 5 years ago already? That scorching hot airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld. This Polish MiG29 was a show stealer.
Take off during a scorching hot airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld back in 2008. This Polish MiG-29 stole the show. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
We had to dust off our trusty scanner to get this shot somewhat presentable for you. It's another Polish MiG29, in the colours of its former owner, the Czech Republic. Photo taken at Dijon, France, 1997. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
We had to dust off our trusty scanner to get this shot somewhat presentable for you. It’s another Polish MiG-29, in the colours of its former owner, the Czech Republic. Photo taken at Dijon, France, 1997. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Hungary is great too! Both its capital Budapest and its MiG-29s. Good combo again!

Definitely not the time for a screwed up landing. Photo taken during the 2007 Kecskemét airshow. Kecskemét; we keep screwing up that name, so we checked the spelling especially for you, dear reader.
Definitely not the time to screw up a landing. Photo taken during the 2007 Kecskemét airshow. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

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.

Want to pimp your ride? Call the Germans! They know about proper paintjobs on airplanes. This Fulcrum was seen at Florennes, Belgium in 2001. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Want to pimp your ride? Call the Germans! They know about proper paintjobs on airplanes. This Fulcrum was seen at Florennes, Belgium in 2001. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

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.

What's not to like about those lines?
What’s not to like? (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Setting it down nicely on one of Batajnica's two runways.
Putting it down nicely on one of Batajnica’s two runways. The 2012 airshow saw high temperatures, a huge crowd and the treat of nine Fulcrums, of which four were from the host nation. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Next up is a Slovakian MiG-29. We like the Slovaks – simply because they are still flying these things.

Back in the days, when Fulcrums were regulars at European airshows. This one shows its stuff at Fairford 1995.
Back in the days, when Fulcrums were regulars at European airshows. This one shows its stuff at Fairford 1995.

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.

Are we taking it with us all the way to parking? Yep, we are.
“Are we dragging that thing with us all the way to the parking lot? Yep, we are.” (Image © Elmer van Hest)

MiG-29s come in flocks too! One such flock is called Team Strizhi in Russian, or Team Swallows for non-Russian speakers.

Team Stryyi were stars of the 2005 airshow in Brno. Key for succesfull photography at this airshow was to stay outside the airfield.
Team Stryyi was the star of the 2005 airshow at Brno. Key for succesfull photography at this airshow was to stay outside the airfield. A spot to the south of the runway provided excellent views. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Always finish with a rarity is our motto. We anticipate this is rare enough for a grande finale:

A Cuban MiG29UB in the Museo del Aire in Havana. Yeah, that's rare, because it is on of only two Cuban MiG29UB's that ever excisted. This picture was taken in december 2006 and the museum has since completely vanished. Not a trace left. It made this MiG29 even rarer.
A Cuban MiG-29UB in the Museo del Aire in Havana. Yeah, that’s rare, because it is one of only two Cuban MiG-29UBs that ever existed. This pic was taken in december 2006 and the museum has since completely vanished. Not a trace left. Our guess is this MiG now resides at San Antonio de los Banos airbase near Havana, away from public eyes. It makes this Fulcrum even more rare. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

© 2013 AIRheads editor Elmer van Hest