Fact: Russian-Built MiG-25 Fighters Have Trained with NATO Forces

August 20, 2019 Topic: Security Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaMilitaryTechnologyWorldMiG-25

Fact: Russian-Built MiG-25 Fighters Have Trained with NATO Forces

What you need to know. 

Algeria was the first export customer for MiG-25 (ASCC/NATO-code ‘Foxbat’). Related contract was signed in 1978, and a group of pilots and ground personnel underwent conversion training in Krasondar already during the same year. Thus, the first out of a total of eight MiG-25Ps, three MiG-25Rs and two MiG-25PUs were shown in the public already during celebrations for 25th anniversary of the Algerian revolution, on Nov. 1, 1979.

The type entered service with two units: 120th (Independent) Squadron, flying MiG-25Ps from Bechar, Tindouf and Ouaragla, and the 515th (Reconnaissance) Squadron, based at Ain Oussera AB.

Algerian Foxbats never saw combat, but did take part in several ‘combat-like’ operations. In 1980s, they flew several reconnaissance and power-demonstration operations along the Spanish coast, and then over Morocco, and in 1988 flew CAPs during the PLO’s Congress in Algeria. MiG-25Rs also flew reconnaissance sorties during the war with Islamic extremists, starting as early as 1986.

The fleet should’ve been bolstered through addition of two batches. Details are scarce, but it seems that by 1997 up to 20 MIG-25PDS’, 6 MiG-25RB/RBShs, and at least one MiG-25PUs were acquired, most of which were upgraded to more advanced standard in Ukraine of mid-1990s, too.

The fleet is meanwhile quite dated, and thus it was expected that the remaining interceptors would be replaced by MiG-29SMTs and Sukhoi Su-30MKA and Su-30MKRs, in late 2000s. However, because of the scandal in which the MIG RSK delivered second-hand instead of newly-built MiG-29s, in 2007 (all of these were returned to Russia a year later), and because the Su-30 lacks the QRA capability, the 120th Squadron is still operational and keeping two MiG-25PDS’ each on alert at Bechar, Tindouf and Ouragla until today.

From time to time, they are taking part even in joint exercises with NATO-members.

Tom Cooper, from Austria, is a military-aviation journalist and historian. Following a career in a worldwide transportation business — in which, during his extensive travels in Europe and the Middle East, he established excellent contacts — he moved into writing. An earlier fascination with post-Second World War military aviation has narrowed to focus on smaller air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives of material. Concentrating primarily on air warfare that has previously received scant attention, he specializes in investigative research on little-known African and Arab air forces, as well as the Iranian Air Force. Cooper has published 21 books — including the unique Arab MiGs' series, which examines the deployment and service history of major Arab air forces in conflicts with Israel — as well as over 200 articles on related topics, providing a window into a number of previously unexamined yet fascinating conflicts and relevant developments.

This first appeared in Aviation Geek Club here