US Acquires Dozens Of MiG-27, MiG-29, Su-24 Jets From Kazakhstan To Boost Ukraine’s Capabilities – Reports

The United States has reportedly procured 81 obsolete Soviet-era combat aircraft from Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic, with intentions to supply them to Ukraine.

Kazakhstan, like other former Soviet states, inherited a range of Soviet military assets following the disintegration of the Communist bloc in the 1990s.

Kazakhstan has gradually modernized its fleet in recent years, transitioning from outdated Soviet-made combat aircraft to more contemporary models like the Russian Su-30SM multi-role aircraft.

In October last year, Kazakhstan declared its plan to sell 117 Soviet-era fighter and bomber aircraft as part of this process. These included MiG-31 interceptors, MiG-27 fighter-bombers, MiG-29 fighters, and Su-24 bombers manufactured during the 1970s and 1980s.

The declared sale value stood at one billion Kazakhstani tenge, equivalent to approximately $2.26 million, with an average value of $19,300 per plane.

Sukhoi Su-24 – Wikipedia

At the time, EurAsian Times reported that the aircraft were deemed unusable and economically impractical for modernization, with limited utility as a source of spare parts.

However, reports from the Russian English-language news site Reporter.RU and the Ukrainian Telegram channel Insider UA revealed that the US recently purchased 81 aircraft through offshore entities. The report added that the acquired aircraft include MiG-27s, MiG-29s, and Su-24s.

This development occurs amid Kazakhstan’s increasing alignment with the West in Central Asia, potentially straining its historical ties with Russia, a crucial military and strategic ally in the post-Soviet space.

During his visit to Kazakhstan in March 2023, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken strongly supported the country’s “independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

Soon after that, some Russian commentators suggested that Russia should closely monitor Kazakhstan, fearing a replication of the turmoil seen in Ukraine. Vladimir Solovyov, a prominent Russian TV commentator, warned of potential unrest in Kazakhstan akin to what occurred in Ukraine, cautioning against similar “Nazi processes” taking root in the region.

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Ukraine Counts On Su-24 Fencers

The aircraft models obtained by the US, like MiG-27s, MiG-29s, and Su-24 bombers, are highly compatible with Ukraine’s operational capabilities, fueling speculation that they might be intended for deployment to Kyiv.

Reports suggest that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) could disassemble them for spare parts or utilize the obsolete airframes as decoys at airfields, enhancing their operational flexibility and survivability.

The potential transfer of Su-24 bombers is of particular significance, as it could play a crucial role in maintaining Ukraine’s existing fleet of Su-24s.

Ukraine has extensively utilized this platform against Russian forces, with support from NATO allies transforming these into a lethal deep-strike system. The exact number of Su-24 aircraft acquired by the US from Kazakhstan remains undisclosed.

The Su-24M is the UkrAF’s (the Ukraine Air Force) most potent air-to-ground platform. It boasts a payload capacity of up to 8,000 kg (17,637lb), enabling devastating strikes against enemy targets.

Russia has recognized the threat posed by these aircraft, with the Ukrainian Su-24s remaining prime targets for the Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF) as they seek to impose air superiority over Ukraine.

File Photo: Ukrainian Air Force.

Yet, the 7th Tactical Aviation Brigade (brTA), the sole remaining Ukrainian Air Force (UkrAF) Su-24 unit, has demonstrated resilience and tenacity in the face of repeated attacks.

Equipped with Western weapons supplied earlier, the brigade has continued to inflict significant damage on Russian forces, leveraging the capabilities of the Su-24M.

During the initial stages of the conflict, Su-24Ms were among the first UkrAF aircraft to appear over strategic targets, such as Hostomel Airport, effectively disrupting Russian reinforcements and operations.

Even though losses incurred during these operations, the Su-24Ms completed their missions, underscoring their importance in Ukraine’s defense strategy.

The Ukrainian Air Force also took innovative measures to maintain the brigade’s front-line strength. This included recalling retired pilots and navigators and restoring derelict Su-24 airframes stored in Ukraine.

However, the turning point came with the donation of stealthy Storm Shadow cruise missiles by the United Kingdom. British and Ukrainian technicians collaborated to modify the Su-24s to carry these advanced weapons, significantly enhancing the brigade’s operational capabilities.

With the ability to launch attacks from a safe distance of up to 155 miles in Ukrainian-controlled airspace, the brigade’s loss rate plummeted, marking a notable shift in the conflict dynamics.

The effectiveness of the Storm Shadow and similar SCALP (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée) missiles, donated by France, has posed a key challenge to Russian air defenses. They prove highly accurate and difficult to intercept.

Su-24s equipped with these missiles have successfully targeted logistical nodes in Russian-occupied Ukraine and strategic assets in Crimea, dealing significant blows to Russian military operations.