African MiGs : Uganda

Entebbe IAP, Uganda, sometimes between 1972 and 1977; the original Ugandan Air Force was formed with Israeli support, in 1964, initially operating 12 Fouga Magisters, six C-47s, and one N.2502D Noratlas, all supplied from Israel. The Israeli influence could have been also the reason for the camouflage colors of the MiG-17F seen here, which is one of around a dozen supplied from the USSR, either in 1966 or in 1972, together with some helicopters and L-29 Delfin trainers. The Israelis also destroyed at least four Ugandan MiG-17Fs during the Entebbe raid, in 1977, when their commandos were rescuing hijacked El Al passengers. The last Ugandan MiG-17Fs flew several sorties during the war against Tanzania, in 1978 and 1979. One was shot down by Tanzanian SA-7s on 11 October 1978, and the remaining two or three captured and then wrecked by Tanzanian troops on Entebbe, in April 1979.

Uganda, early 1970s; African MiGs are not very often seen in flying, but this one was - and at a very low level, sometimes in the early 1970s, when the UAF MiG-21MF was still largely intact. Ugandan Air Force acquired at least 16 (but probably 18) MiG-21MFs and at least two MiG-21Us from the USSR in the early 1970s. The Israelis destroyed seven of these during the Entebbe raid, in 1976, and at least one was lost during the war with Tanzania, in 1978. It is unknown if this example survived: the MiG-21U "U901", for example, can still be found on the scrap yard near Entebbe IAP, together with remnants of two or three other examples.

Entebbe, Uganda, 5 April 1979; this MiG-21MF was one of only seven survivors from the original batch supplied by the USSR, in the early 1970s. It was captured by Tanzanian troops at the Entebbe IAP, at the end of the war between the two countries and then flown out to Tanzania. Note that it is possible the serials of Ugandan MiG-21s were applied in a lighter color than black: eventually red or green could have been used either.

Despite some rumors to contrary, Uganda never operated any MiG-21F-13s. Nevertheless, in 1998 five ex-Polish Air Force and one ex-Polish Navy MiG-21bis were purchased, three of which were then given to IAI for refurbishment and upgrade to a standard similar to that of the MiG-29. These three aircraft were seen at Lod IAP, in Israel, last year, probably short of their delivery. Flown by - probably Byelorussian - mercenaries, they were finally delivered early this year, but one crashed on 15 July, killing the pilot.

Posted in Labels: , |
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Listen to this post (powered by