Poland is NATO's largest operator of this Soviet-made fighter

An elegant air show of a Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter

The Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum was one of the last fighters manufactured in the USSR. Today it is used by three NATO member countries: Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia.

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Poland received its first 12 copies of this fighter (nine MiG-29A single-seaters and three MiG-29UB training two-seaters) between 1989 and 1990, coinciding with the fall of the communist dictatorship established by Stalin in that country. Subsequently, Poland purchased from Germany another 22 aircraft that had belonged to the air force of the defunct GDR. It was one of the cheapest purchases in the history of aviation: the Germans sold those 22 fighters to the Poles for the symbolic price of one euro, with the 23rd plane remaining to display it in a museum. Currently the Polish Air Force maintains 28 MiG-29 fighters (after losing several in accidents), being the largest operator of this model within NATO.

The Polish MiG-29s are operated by the 1st Tactical Aviation Wing, divided between the 41st Squadron based in Malbork (in northern Poland) and the 1st Squadron based in Mińsk Mazowiecki (in the eastern part of the country). Interestingly, these planes have been participating in NATO Baltic Air Police (BAP) patrols for years against the incursions of Russian planes in the vicinity of the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

A few days ago the World Army Club YouTube channel published this video of an elegant display of a Polish MiG-29, in which we see its climbing ability after takeoff and also its good maneuverability. As a curiosity, this MiG-29 (105 – 2960535105) shares a characteristic of the aircraft of the 23 Baza Lotnictwa Taktycznego (23rd Tactical Air Base) of Mińsk Mazowiecki: it carries on its upper part the emblem of the Kościuszko Squadron, a unit of pilots American volunteers who fought alongside the Poles and against the Soviets in the 1919-1921 Polish-Soviet War.

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