The US may have bought more than 80 fighter jets to aid Ukraine

The US appears to have bought 81 old fighter jets from Kazakhstan for $1.5 million, intending to transfer them to Ukraine for components and bait.

Ukraine’s Kyiv Post newspaper said on April 28 that the US used overseas businesses to buy 81 border-type military aircraft from Kazakhstan, including MiG-29 fighters, MiG-27 attack aircraft and bombers. Su-24 tactical bomber. The total value of the deal is about 1.5 million USD, meaning each of these aircraft is sold for nearly 19,000 USD.

The specific purpose of the purchase was not disclosed. Ukrainian media said that Washington could transfer these aircraft to Kyiv to get spare parts to maintain operations for the current fleet, as well as bait to attract long-range firepower from the Russian military.

US and Ukrainian officials have not commented on the information.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan inherited a series of fighter regiments stationed on its territory. Many squadrons have been eliminated in Kazakhstan’s force modernization efforts in recent years, replaced by Russian-made Su-30SM heavy fighters.

The Kazakh government in October 2023 offered to sell 117 fighter aircraft built during the Soviet era, including Su-24, MiG-27, MiG-29 and heavy interceptor fighter MiG-31. All aircraft are in dilapidated condition, cannot operate and require high repair costs, while the ability to disassemble for spare parts is very limited.

General Laura Richardson, commander of the US Army’s Southern Command, last year revealed that Washington was looking for old weapons produced by the Soviet Union from many countries around the world. The US wants these countries to provide aid directly or transfer it indirectly to Kyiv in exchange for equipment produced by Washington.