December 18, 2008

Russia to Provide Lebanon with 10 MIG-29s

by Charles Chuman

The New York Times' Bobby Worth reports on the possibility of Lebanon receiving 10 MIG-29s from Russia.

These planes could easily attack targets in Lebanon or Syria, but are vulnerable against the Israelis.

The Lebanese Armed Forces will now have pieces of military equipment more powerful than anything Hezbollah has.

The MIGs will not be a significant threat to Israel. Expert concern and consternation from the US and Israelis about this acquisition, but the most significant implications are likely domestic.

Posted by Charles Chuman at December 18, 2008 10:20 PM

The MIG-29 is an air superiority fighter, not ground attack, and I seriously doubt the Lebanese government is going to invest the time and money into training their pilots to a level where they would be a threat to the Syrian air force, forget about the Israelis.

I believe the term for this kind of gift is 'white elephant'.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at December 19, 2008 7:01 AM

Well, if they have $13,000 and four days to spare, they can learn to fly it over Moscow...

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at December 19, 2008 8:00 AM

MIG's and other military aircraft have been available through the civilian market for years. About 5 years ago I met a pilot in South Jersey who had a small (former soviet) fighter jet. He used to fly aerobatics in it, for fun, on weekends.

I think one may have gone up for sale on e-bay...

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at December 19, 2008 9:18 AM

You can put air-to-surface missiles on a MiG.

Anyways, I would settle for the Lebanese armed forecs being a threat to Hizbollah.

Posted by: TallDave Author Profile Page at December 19, 2008 3:20 PM

Armament for the MiG-29 includes a single GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. This originally had a 150-round magazine, which was reduced to 100 rounds in later variants. Original production MiG-29B aircraft cannot fire the cannon when carrying a centerline fuel tank as it blocks the shell ejection port. This issue was corrected in the MiG-29S and later versions. Three pylons are provided under each wing (four in some variants), for a total of six (or eight). The inboard pylons can carry either a 1,150 liter (300 US gallon) fuel tank, one Vympel R-27 (AA-10 'Alamo') medium-range air-to-air missile, or unguided bombs or rockets. Some Soviet aircraft could carry a single nuclear bomb on the port inboard station. The outer pylons usually carry R-73 (AA-11 "Archer") dogfight missiles, although some users still retain the older R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid"). A single 1,500 liter (400 US gallon) tank can be fitted to the centerline, between the engines, for ferry flights, but this position is not used for combat stores. The original MiG-29B can carry general-purpose bombs and unguided rocket pods, but not precision-guided munitions. Upgraded models have provision for laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles.

Posted by: TallDave Author Profile Page at December 19, 2008 3:25 PM

The MiG-29 was designed to be a multirole fighter, a counterpart for the F-16, if you will. While it's primary role is that of air superiority, it's quite capable of delivering bombs, rockets, and air to ground missiles, and versatile enough to do both with one loadout, making it ideal for the frontal European theater in a Cold War engagement. It's highly agile and boasts several features relatively unheard of in western fighters, such as off-boresight missile launching (something German Mig-29s used with impunity against American F-16s in training exercises).

Despite it's impressive performance on paper, in actual combat performance the Fulcrum has been a huge disappointment. The USAF smoked the Iraqi Mig-29 fleet in Desert Storm, and the former Yugoslav Fulcrums used over Bosnia and Kosovo were equally inept. As Mr. Totten says, if used against the IAF they would get slaughtered, but so would every other Middle Eastern plane.

Posted by: Ben Author Profile Page at December 24, 2008 12:03 AM

It would not surprise for the ground support personnel, and pilots operating the planes, to have names like "Sasha" and "Vladimir". "Civilians" of course.

Lebanon would not need 10 of these to deal with hezbollah from the air. 3 would do. Then again, hezbollah has nearly become Lebanon and vice versa. The Lebanese government exists at the sufferance of hezbollah, and would be unlikely and politically unable to use such force against hezbollah.

The purpose of this is for the neo-Soviets in to expand their influence and prestige and to obliquely, with plausible deniability, threaten Israel. The neo-Soviet regime's allies in Tehran and Damascus will be happy.

Posted by: del Author Profile Page at December 28, 2008 10:31 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Read my blog on Kindle


Recommended Reading

Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/12/russia-to-provi.php on line 267

Warning: include( failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/12/russia-to-provi.php on line 267

Warning: include(): Failed opening '' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/mjt001/public_html/archives/2008/12/russia-to-provi.php on line 267