As Search For Crashed MiG-29 Yields No Results, Turkish Specialists Join Operation

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 1 August 2019
As Search For Crashed MiG-29 Yields No Results, Turkish Specialists Join Operation

Amid mounting tension in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region and along the state border with Armenia, Azerbaijan has lost a MiG-29 fighter jet and its experienced pilot much needed in the theater of war in the separatist region to hit the enemy target to bring closer the victory in the long-drawn-out war.

The fighter jet of the Azerbaijani Air Forces crashed during a training flight on 24 July over the Caspian Sea close its air base when carrying out a training flight at about 2200 hours.

Efforts of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry together with the relevant services to locate the crash site and rescue the jet and pilot yielded no results and therefore, after week-long searches, a Turkish team of specialists was invited to help with the mission.

As the searches are in full swing, various theories are being looked into possible crash of the MiG-29 operated by one of the experienced pilot of the Azerbaijani Air Forces.

Military expert Rtd. Lt-Col Uzeyir Cafarov suspects neighboring Russia’s possible role in the crash of the fighter jet. It is likely that the MiG-29 fighter jet of the Azerbaijani Air Forces could have been wrecked as a result of Russia's application of one of the electronic warfare systems (EW), for example, the so-called Krasukha-4, or Leer-3.

This EW system, previously applied in Syria, and encountered with tough reactions by NATO generals more than once, could be used in unexpected fall of the MiG-29.

“The range of the Krasuha-4 complex is estimated at 150-300 kilometers, but they say that it is doubled, to 600 km. In addition, Russia does not hide the fact that it uses such systems. In the same Syria, the EW systems disrupted the tasks assigned to the coalition forces,” the military expert added.

This, he said, is one of the possible versions of the crash of the combat aircraft of the Azerbaijani Air Force. It was at that time that in this direction, starting from July 18, and the military personnel of Russia’s Southern Military District was conducting EW-related exercises.

“I am reiterating that I remain unconvinced: this is one of the versions of the collapse of the fighter jet. It cannot be unequivocally stated that this was done intentionally. Perhaps, it all happened by chance. Any version deserves attention. But it is impossible to reject it, they say, this is not serious, as it is possible at such a distance. Russia has such EW systems that have not been demonstrated anywhere before, but have already passed a certain testing process,” the expert added.

In this case, according to the expert, there are a number of other versions of the plane crash.

“For example, the pilot could feel a lot worse. But if a pilot becomes ill, and a plane enters the “peak”, a catapult is triggered at a certain distance from the ground. But, most likely this happened for technical reasons. But it is also impossible to exclude the "human" factor. The commission should promptly clarify all these nuances. Pilot Rashad Atakishiyev did not even have time to send a message to the base that he was falling; the plane he was piloting instantly disappeared from the radar. He is an experienced pilot, a career officer,” the expert emphasized.

According to the military specialist, the most important thing now is to get the fighter jet from the Caspian Sea:

“This is possible through the Emergency Rescue Service of the Caspian Basin under the Emergencies Ministry. Separately, the Ministry of Defense does not have such a possibility. There is a similar service at the State Border Service. In addition, on occasion, we can ask for help from Russia or Iran, which can help in determining the location of this aircraft. The plane fell 100% into the Caspian Sea. May he be spared that the remains of the pilot and the fighter jet are to be found. So that the citizens finally calm down and learn why this tragedy happened,” Uzeyir Cafarov added.

At the same time, the military expert categorically opposes the transfer of the “black box” of the collapsed MiG-29 to Russia for decoding:

“Russia is an interested party. Even in 2008, 2010 and 2011, when fighter jets of our Air Force suffered catastrophes, to this day, there is no information that they provided us with the results of the investigation although they were to do so. It is necessary to achieve that the decoding of the `black box’ to occur in one of the countries that we trust and which behaves decently within the framework of international laws.

Russia has never been sincere with respect to Azerbaijan. They smiled at us, and at the same time, armed the Armenian occupiers. This goes on for years. Therefore, it is impossible to send the `black box’ of the MiG-29 to Moscow,” concluded Uzeyir Cafarov.