Poland grounds MiG-29 fleet after deadly crash

The Polish Air Force (PAF) has grounded its fleet of MiG-29 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) fighter jets following a crash of a Fulcrum fighter on July 6, according to the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

Poland grounds MiG 29 fleet after deadly crash 001 A Polish Air Force MiG-29 fighter jet
(Credit: Polish Air Force Facebook Page)

"[The PAF] will suspend all flights of its Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets until Friday's crash of one of the aircraft is investigated by a state committee," the agency said, quoting a statement made by Defense Minister of Poland Mariusz Blaszczak.

A PAF MiG-29 fighter jet from the 22nd Air Base (Malbork, Pomerania Region) crashed at 1:57 am on July 6 near Paslek. According to the MoD, the pilot of the aircraft ejected himself; however, he did not survive. "The pilot`s flight time reached 850 hours, including over 600 hours during MiG-29 flights," the MoD said, adding that the pilot had participated in several exercises, both national and international. Blaszczak said the investigation team had already inspected the crash site.

The MiG-29 is a very reliable aircraft, which is not prone to drawbacks and technical malfunctions, Head of PAF Inspectorate Colonel Maciej Trelka said. "The PAF has been operating Fulcrums for 29 years, and this crash [on July 6] was the first one," Trelka said. "[The MiG-29] fighter jet is a very safe platform," he added.

Poland`s experience of using of the MiG-29 shows high safety of the aircraft. On December 18, a PAF MiG-29A crash-landed, with its pilot surviving the accident with only minor injuries.

According to the Military Balance 2018 analytical book published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the PAF operated 26 MiG-29A fighter jets and seven MiG-29UB (UB for Combat-Training, Uchebno-Boyevoy) operational trainers as of early 2018.

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