Russian Spy Plane Found in Iraq?

A classmate was claiming that he heard on the G. Gordon Liddy show today that US forces had discovered a modified Soviet/Russian built spy plane buried some five miles from an airport in Iraq. The plane had unspecified modifications done to it. Now, considering the source, I’m more than a bit dubious about the whole thing. Anyone hear anything about this?

I heard about that on Glenn Beck yesterday (national radio host), and if I recall he said it was from the New York Times (or something like that). The story he told was that a U.S. soldier found the tip of a plane’s tail sticking out of the sand, which then revealed one (or more) burried operational planes. I’ll look for a source.

I found the story here.

This is probably off-topic, but did/do the Russians even have aircraft specifically designed for recon?

Wow, so 30 MiG-25s, MiG-29s and Su-25s? How many squadrons would that make up?

The photos I saw being passed around are here, here and here.

And saying “they can all be repaired and could fly again” is probably, while technically correct, something of a stretch. You can see in the photos the canopy has two gaping holes, and the cockpit is filled with sand.

I would imagine it would take some serious, high-end, skilled and expensive repairs to get it flyable again.

Basically, since the control surfaces haven’t been sealed, the wing roots are wide open, and the intake covers are just flight-line things designed to keep birds out, the entire plane would have to be essentially dismantled, iinspected, cleaned and overhauled.

I can’t imagine why they were buried like that.

I’m far from an expert on the subject, but my understanding is that much of the military technology Saddam Hussein possessed - planes, tanks - was old Soviet stuff (the article dates the planes to the late 1980s). I’m inclined to agree with the guy who said the planes would’ve been totally useless against newer aircraft, and I guess that’s why they were left there.

And the story Bob55 links to debunks the idea that the ‘modifications’ were for chemical weapons.

The plane that was buried would probably not be the best platform for deployment of chemical weapons - it was designed to intercept the XB-70, and as such, flies very fast and very high, but can’t do much else.

I guess the obvious reason to bury them would be to hide the fact that Russia had been violating U.N. sanctions, IF in fact it turns out that the avionics in those things is newer than 1991. I got the feeling that that part of the story is still speculative.

Although the story says specifically that they’re older than the sanctions… and why would Iraq care about Russia violating them anyway?

I don’t know if this applies to the size of foreign aircraft squadrons, but the typical US aircraft squadron depends heavily on the size and complexity of the aircraft in the squadron, as well as the size of the man power to maintain the aircraft.

For instance I was in a Marine F18 squadron. We always had 12 aircraft that were flown by 20 pilots and serviced by about 300 enlisted Marines such as myself.

In contrast, we visited Hill AFB one time, and their typical squadron of B2 bombers consisted of 6 airplanes, flown by some unspecified number of pilots, but serviced by almost 500 Air Force personnel.

Then again, a training squadron can have up to 100 airplanes, flown by a couple hundred pilots, and serviced by thousands of enlisted people.

Doc, it may not be all that difficult to get the planes flying again. Skipping jokes about the quality of Soviet/Russian made equipment for the moment, many of their MiGs were designed to operate in less than ideal conditions. There was one fighter which was equipped with moveable grates over the intakes, so that the plane could take off from a bomb damaged runway without worrying about sucking trash into the engines. Also, their planes tend not to be loaded with the sensative electronics that Western planes are.

Of course, they’re probably no better than scrap metal.

I don`t know, maybe an overhaul of biblical proportins could put this planes back into the air; but I think that if the Iraqis had any intentions of flying this planes again they would have buried them with a minimum of protection, I mean, at least some plastic sheeting on top, or plugs in the intakes, ANYTHING. To me it looks as if there were dumped in a very weird way.

The planes were definitely pre-sanctions, but one article I read said that one of the planes seemed to have some electronic warfare avionics that *might be a refit after the sanctions.

I guess the story will come out eventually.

In the Canadian arctic, there are supposed to be sites that contain buried weapons caches, including bomber chassis, that were put there in the 1950s, with the idea that when an atomic war broke out, there would be a surviving cadre who could get to such remote locations and extract the equipment to retaliate or regain control. Unlike my other posts tonight, this one is hearsay, but there are definitely caches in the North that Canada has been trying to get the US to clean up - these were tied into the DEW Line and its immediate successors.
Additionally, there were a series of oddball investments by shadowy US companies in things like oil refineries on the coast of Newfoundland (the Shaheen project is well known here) that got completed then were mothballed, but not dismantled. One theory was that, again in the event of a successful nuclear attack on the US (NewJersey and Texas refineries becoming smoking pits for example), tankers from remote fields could be diverted to these mothballed plants which would be reactivated and then petrochemicals and fuel would be available to aid in recovery. Think of Howard Hughes and the Glomar Explorer as a related “private” project that was a cover for a military scheme.