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Soviet And Russian Military Aircraft In The Middle East

Soviet And Russian Military Aircraft In The Middle East Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2013 Title Soviet And Russian Military Aircraft In The Middle East
Author Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Hikoki Publications
Published 2013 ISBN 9781902109282
Format 272 pages, hardcover MSRP (USD) $56.95


The irrepressible team of Yefim Gordon & Dmitriy Komissarov returns with Soviet and Russian Military Aircraft in the Middle East from Hikoki – available in North America from Specialty Press.

Subtitled "Air Arms, Equipment and Conflicts since 1955", the heavily illustrated volume surveys some of the globe's most potent warplanes – in, arguably, the world's most deadly region.  Contents cover fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, transport, rotary wing and utility machines in:

  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Palestine
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

Chapters chronologically course through operational histories of every aircraft type.  Frescoes and Fishbeds.  Beagles and Badgers.  Hips and Hinds.  Cubs and Coalers.  If it served in Middle East markings, it appears.

Almost, that is.  Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine rate separate sections.  Yet Algeria and Libya – both of which received substantial Soviet and Russian aerial assets – don't.  Nor do Moroccan MiGs merit coverage.  For those countries, you must reference the authors' lavishly illustrated Soviet And Russian Military Aircraft In Africa – another Hikoki handbook available from Specialty Press.

Individual chapters conclude with lists of all known serials.  But the title falls somewhat short of accurately summarizing book content.  That's because Chinese derivatives of Soviet and Russian designs also play prominent parts.

Too, narrative details – especially apparent in Iraqi accounts – differ from those in other published sources.  But given the noxious secrecy of most Middle Eastern governments, that's hardly surprising.

Gremlins sometimes stalk this entertaining and informative effort.  Ukraine takes understandable umbrage at the phrase "the Ukraine".  A passive construct conveniently clouds claims of alleged Iraqi WMD "falsification".  And better descriptors than "yucky" surely exist.

That's also a "pre-UAR" Syrian MiG-19S on page 229 – not a "pre-UAE" machine.  Photos confirm that 1967-vintage Syrian MiGs sported red-white-black roundels with three small green stars – not early green-white-black insignia with red stars.  And doesn't that Iraqi Su-2MK at the bottom of page 179 look like a model?

None of these, however, diminishes Hikoki's terrific tome.  Over 375 color and B&W photos illustrate text.  And dozens of color profiles further season its splendid study.  Hobbyists will lick their eyebrows at this visual feast.

For a compact history of Soviet and Russian aircraft in a region of almost ceaseless conflict, grab this handy hardback.  I thoroughly enjoyed it – especially notes on helicopter actions during the Iran-Iraq War!


My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!