Murphy's Law: March 12, 2002


Russia continues to try, without much success, to sell it's most modern warplanes, the MiG-29 and the Su-27. The major problem is the combat record. The MiG-29 has shot down two aircraft (unarmed civilian aircraft off the coast of Cuba), while having lost about 40. The U.S. F-16, which is usually offered against the MiG-29, has lost one aircraft in "combat" (a Pakistani aircraft accidentally knocked down by a missile from another Pakistani fighter), while scoring 64 air-to-air victories (51 by Israeli pilots, 13 U.S.). Russia also pushes it's latest air-to-air missiles which, at least on paper, are superior to their American counterparts (Sidewinder and AMRAAM), But these missiles have not yet proven themselves in combat. Indeed, the evidence so far is not very impressive. Ethiopia and Eritrea both bought Russian aircraft for their recent war. Ethiopia bought ten second hand Su-27s from Russia and Eritrea bought ten second hand MiG-29s from Ukraine. The Su-27s (using Russian pilots), shot down four of the MiG-29s (piloted by Eritreans). One Su-27 was shot down. There was a high miss, or failure, rate among both long and short range Russian missiles. 


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