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Why US is buying 81 Soviet-era combat aircraft from Russia’s ally – Times of India



NEW DELHI: The United States has purchased 81 Soviet-era fighter and bomber aircraft from Kazakhstan, which recently auctioned off 117 military planes, including MiG-31 interceptors, MiG-27 fighter bombers, MiG-29 fighters, and Su-24 bombers. These aircraft, stemming from the 1970s and 1980s, were sold for a total of one billion Kazakhstani tenge, approximately $2.26 million, averaging about $19,300 per plane.
Kazakhstan, historically a close ally of Russia but increasingly aligning with Western interests, is upgrading its air fleet, leading to the disposal of these aged aircraft, described as unusable for modern warfare.The sale, conducted through offshore companies, has sparked speculation about the US’s motives, including potential use of the aircraft in Ukraine where similar models are still operational, a report in Insider said.
According to a report by the Ukrainian Telegram channel Insider UA, the aircraft could either be used for spare parts or strategically as decoys at airfields to confuse enemy targeting. This comes at a time when Ukraine continues to rely on Soviet-era weapons, integrating them with Western technology to bolster its defenses against Russian aggression.
The MiG-31, a supersonic interceptor, was crucial during the Cold War for defending Soviet airspace. The MiG-27, a derivative of the MiG-23, served primarily in ground-attack roles and saw extensive use during the Soviet-Afghan War. The MiG-29 remains active in several air forces due to its prowess in air-to-air combat, and the Su-24, an all-weather tactical bomber, is still operational in various countries, including the Russian and Ukrainian air forces.
This acquisition underscores the ongoing geopolitical shifts in Central Asia and the delicate balance Kazakhstan maintains between its historical ties to Russia and its burgeoning relationships with Western nations.

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