So, ISIS now has MIGs

The Syrian air base at Tabqa is now controlled by ISIS., as it does (Wiki cite) Taftanaz.

That Wiki cite gives the following aircraft for the two:

Squadron MiG-21MF/UM
Brigade Mi-8

Two Squadron s Mi-8 Hip C/H
It seems like a nifty Air Force starter upper. How many aircraft, nominally, does that amount too?

I’m sure some pilots can be found among the cadre. Even without flying the damn things, what kinds of military use can be made of the materiel?

Why are you sure they now have them? The common sense thing to do when you realize you are losing is to fly them away to a safe airbase.

It’s questionable if they have both pilots and mechanics.

They might be able to take the guns off and mount them on pickups.

Airplanes are useless unless they are maintained.

As noted, they might have been flown away before those bases fell.

Alternatively, they could have been sabotaged before the bases were taken.

Even if they’re usable right now, they won’t be for long without mechanics and parts.

Could the Syrian military really be so terrible that they leave fighters lying around when abandoning their bases?

MiG 21 - isn’t that about 1970?
In Vietnam, as soon as the US introduced the F-4 Phantom (first production supersonic fighter), the race was on - the Mig-15’s were sitting ducks - it was somewhere between the -17 and -21 that the Vietnamese got a plane which could engage a F-4 and win.
I know North Korea still shows off their MiG-15 and MiG-17 planes (how many are operational is anybody’s guess).
ISIS just might be the group that EVERYBODY in the M.E. finally unites - to destroy.


We must be living in a mod or something, everyone knows in vanilla Generals, the GLA doesn’t have an airforce.

" to encourage airmen demoralized by crash accidents,"

As Voltaire said in Candide; "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres – “In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.”

How many combat flight instructors did they capture?

They only have to be able to take off and basic navigation skills, then they can be come a kamikazi.


More like 1959.

And without pilots (very unlikely) and mechanics (slightly less unlikely) it doesn’t matter.

Plus, I suspect if the USAF is operating in the area, they’ll probably take care of any of those planes that make it off the ground. Otherwise, I doubt they’ll waste the munitions to destroy them.

The USAF and Iraqi air force are overdue for some air-to-air kills…

Assuming they have some reasonably well-trained pilots who are experienced in flying the type (they probably won’t), and some reasonably well-tried mechanics? And that the Syrians left behind spare parts? And that the aircraft were operational in the first place? And that they have significant ammunition stores?

They can probably maintain air superiority over a very small area of Syria and maybe even drop some bombs on government targets. The latter is highly unlikely since Syrian air defenses are much more advanced than their aircraft.

You missed the part about having to avoid being shot down.


A MiG-29 would be pretty shit at the manoeuvre. Not much fuel, not much weight, and modern bombs don’t detonate on simple impact due to safety concerns.

But hey, if they want to run their only air assets into the ground, literally, they’d be more than welcome.

The captured aircraft (assuming there were any) are MiG-21s, not 29s. But still pretty useless as flying bombs.

Even with experienced pilots, the MiG-21 is damn dangerous to fly - just ask the Indian Air Force. And that’s when it’s in good condition.

ISIS might possibly be able to force pilots and mechanics to operate the things, but not necessarily against targets *they *choose. More likely, they’ll find uses for the smaller weapons you’d find on any military base, if they don’t have enough American equipment taken from fleeing/defecting Iraqi troops, that is.

Just as an FYI in case it hasn’t been mentioned, the Syrians claim they moved the planes prior to the base being taken over. The other answers saying that it’s moot anyway are correct, since ISIS/L would have had to capture pilots and ground crews to use the things in any case, which is pretty unlikely.

These are generation 3 export variants from circa the 1970’s ( design modifications from 1968-1970 ). Relatively more capable than their precursors. Still terribly obsolescent today of course and as noted by multiple people it is almost certainly irrelevant, as the odds ISIS/L captured intact fighters and can actually operate them at all ( let alone with any regularity ) is very, very low indeed.

RAF procedure in the Second World War (they had a lot of experience in this) was to fly planes out before the base was within range of long range arty. I doubt the Syrians stayed when it looked like it as going to fall.