US Buys More Than 80 Soviet-Era Aircraft From Russia's Ally for Around $20,000 Each

By Jace Dela Cruz

Apr 29, 2024 02:46 AM EDT

The United States (US) reportedly acquired 81 obsolete Soviet-era combat aircraft from Russia's previous ally, Kazakhstan.

US Buys Soviet-Era Combat Aircraft From Kazakhstan

According to the Kyiv Post, Kazakhstan recently auctioned off 117 outdated fighter and bomber aircraft, including MiG-31 interceptors, MiG-27 fighter bombers, MiG-29 fighters, and Su-24 bombers from the 1970s and 1980s.

The sale of these aircraft generated one billion Kazakhstani tenge, equivalent to $2.26 million, with an average price of around $19,300 per plane. The purpose behind the US' purchase remains undisclosed, although speculations suggest potential use in Ukraine, where similar aircraft are currently operational.

Additionally, transactions for the aircraft were conducted through offshore entities, according to Reporter, a Russian English-language news outlet.

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Afghan workers stand by a Soviet-era fig
Kabul, AFGHANISTAN: Afghan workers stand by a Soviet-era fighter jet that is among the newest additions to a collection of war aircrafts on display at the demining museum in Kabul, 08 June 2006.
(Photo : SHAH MARAI/AFP via Getty Images)

Soviet-Era Military Equipment

According to the Kyiv Post, Ukraine's heavy reliance on Soviet-era military equipment implies that these aircraft could serve as valuable spare parts or be utilized as decoys at airfields.

The MiG-27, a derivative of the MiG-23, was a ground-attack aircraft that participated in conflicts such as the Soviet-Afghan War. Similarly, the MiG-29 gained prominence for its air-to-air combat capabilities and continues to be operated by several air forces, according to Business Insider.

It is also worth noting Kazakhstan has deep historical ties with Russia, dating back to its Soviet-era membership, but its relations have shifted towards the West after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

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