Accident Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29MU2 12 White, Friday 2 June 2023
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Date:Friday 2 June 2023
Type:Silhouette image of generic MG29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29MU2
Owner/operator:Ukrainian Air Force
Registration: 12 White
MSN: 2960729356
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Mirne, Pokrovsk Raion, Donetsk Oblast -   Ukraine
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
On 2 June 2023, a Ukrainian Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29MU2 (bort: 12 White / serial: 2960729356) was shot down by forces of the Russian Federation using an S-300 air defence system in the vicinity of Mirne, Pokrovsk Raion, Donetsk Oblast. Mirne is located in Ukrainian controlled territory, close to the line of contact.

The pilot, Major Vladyslav Mykhailovych Savieliev, callsign "Nomad" of the 114th Tactical Aviation Brigade was killed in action. Ukrainian sources state that the aircraft was hit by a Russian air-defence missile. According to Ukrainian court documents, the wreckage of the aircraft was found north of the hamlet of Mirne, Pokrovsk Raion, Donetsk Oblast.

Later, on 3 June 2023, the Russian Defence Ministry initially reported that a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 had been shot down by air defence forces in the vicinity of the settlement of Koptevo the previous day. However, this claim is likely to actually be Savieliev's MiG-29 as this location is just north of the crash site identified through Ukrainian court documentation. According to eyewitness testimony, at around 20:25, two MiG-29 fighter aircraft flew overhead, heading westwards in the direction of Dnipropetrovsk. Shortly after an explosion was seen behind one of the two aircraft. Ukrainian investigators reported that Major Savieliev had ejected from the aircraft, but was killed as a result of his fall. The remains of an air defence missile reportedly belonging to an S-300M air defence system were also found.

Savieliev had graduated from the Ivan Kozhedub National Air Force University of Ukraine in 2019, with experience in flying the Soviet origin MiG-29 fighter. He then participated in Ukrainian military operations in the disputed Donbass region from 2019 to 2021. From 2021 to 2023, Savieliev participated in the United States Air Force Aviation Leadership Program consisting of English language training, as well as conversion training on the T-6 Texan II trainer, graduating in March 2023. Students also participate in the United States Department of Defence Field Studies Program and other courses “to promote better awareness and understanding of the democratic institutions and social framework of the U.S.,” according to the US Air Force. Savieliev returned to Ukraine after not flying in his old jet, the MiG-29, for at least two years, being killed in action shortly after.

Some aviation commentators have noted that pilots often find it challenging to transition between Western and Soviet aircraft due to differences in design philosophy, cockpit layouts, avionics systems, and flight characteristics. In addition, it is suggested that the training program may have led to the diminishment of Savieliev's capabilities in the MiG-29 fighter, with his “new norm” being adjusted to peacetime flying a propeller-driven trainer.

As one instructor said, “I flew with him on a low-level training sortie. What was I supposed to teach him? The guy was more advanced than any foreign student I’d ever seen. T-6 flying was diminishing his MiG-29 flight skills, not improving them.” US military analysts have suggested that the Aviation Leadership Program should be supplemented with flight time on the Vietnam era T-38 Talon jet trainer.

It is noteworthy that the aircraft indicated to have been shot down is a rare Ukrainian MiG-29MU2. the MiG-29MU2 upgrade improves upon the MiG29MU1 upgrade developed at the Lviv State Aircraft Plant, focusing on precision air-to-ground capabilities, as well as improved onboard avionics. A miniscule number of these upgraded aircraft are known to exist. Furthermore, public information states that the aircraft in question was assigned to the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade, rather than Savieliev's 114th Tactical Aviation Brigade. However, it is likely that the aircraft, or pilot was reassigned due to critical pilot and aircraft shortages amid the ongoing conflict. This is backed up with information stating that Savieliev performed a SEAD mission with Captain Andrii Borysovych Pilshchykov, callsign "Juice" of the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade on the morning of 2 June 2023, firing American origin AGM-88 HARM anti radiation missiles. However, while performing another air to ground sortie later that evening, Savieliev met his end.

In August 2023, the loss of the pilot and aircraft were acknowledged on the official Facebook page of the Ukrainian Air Force, with a "piano burning" ceremony taking place. Historically, this has been a tradition of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Air Force (USAF) in comparison to the historically Soviet style and traditions of the Ukrainian Air Force. It was stated that his colleagues decided to say goodbye in this manner as "That's what the Americans do, that's what Savelyev bequeathed."




Revision history:

08-Jun-2023 08:35 AlxSrgv Added
09-Dec-2023 08:23 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
09-Dec-2023 08:50 Anon. Updated [Embed code]
11-Feb-2024 14:23 Anon. Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
30-May-2024 16:42 Anon. Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative, Category]
31-May-2024 13:21 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
06-Jul-2024 05:47 Anon. Updated [Source]

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