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US Air Force Reveals Acquisition of Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Fighter from Ukraine

Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker (Photo: FlightGlobal)

US Air Force Reveals Acquisition of Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Fighter from Ukraine

Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker lands in Romania after having been intercepted by Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon Fighter Jets - The Aviation Geek Club

The US Air Force has unveiled its recent acquisition of a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter aircraft from Ukraine. (Photo: The Aviation Geek Club)

US Air Force Breaks Mold with Rare Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Acquisition for Cold War Gallery

According to the FlighGlobal article, the US Air Force has added an unconventional fighter to its collection, deviating from the usual Boeing and Lockheed Martin offerings. The aircraft in question is a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, a relic from the Cold War era, originating from the former Soviet Union. The National Museum of the USAF unveiled its acquisition through social media, displaying images of the blue-and-grey-camouflaged fighter, which is scheduled to join the Cold War Gallery in the upcoming fall season.

This particular Su-27 is identified as a two-seat Su-27UB trainer variant, once employed by the Soviet Air Force for interdiction and air superiority missions. Intriguingly, the USAF museum has kept details about the aircraft’s origin and procurement rather elusive.

However, it seems to match a Su-27 registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) back in 2009 under the ownership of Meridian, an entity associated with military aeronautics.

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Secretive Journey of Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Raises Questions About USAF’s Cold War-Era Exploitation

According to an Aviationist article, Records indicate that Meridican’s ownership of the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker expired in 2018, and the aircraft changed hands at least once after it arrived in the USA in 2009. Originating from the Ukrainian Air Force, it was initially imported by Pride Aircraft, which later filed for bankruptcy in 2020. A certificate of airworthiness was granted to Tactical Air Support of Reno, Nevada, in 2010, indicating that the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker may have been involved in private adversary air services for military forces.

The aircraft’s journey from there becomes a mystery, leading to speculation that the USAF may have clandestinely utilized it for technological evaluation and vulnerability assessment. Such activities, referred to as foreign material exploitation in Pentagon terminology, were common during the Cold War when the USAF covertly acquired various Soviet aircraft for flight testing and adversary air training under the classified program known as Constant Peg.

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