Deserters to the United States and other Western countries often carry military equipment, especially pilots. This material, coupled with their detailed knowledge of the armed forces of potential adversaries, means the defectors have a lot to trade.

One of the most memorable scenes from the 1990 film “The Hunt for Red October” is when the first mate of the Red October submarine, played by Sam Neill, describes how he would like to live as a deserter. 

“I would like to live in Montana,” says Captain Borodin, who then describes how he would like to get married, own a truck, maybe a trailer, and travel from state to state… without having to carry travel documents with him.

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?
In 1981 Lieutenant Adriano Bomba decided to defect to South Africa in his old Mozambican Mig 17 (serial number 21) and was intercepted and escorted by two SAAF F1AZ Mirage fighters.

It turns out that this is how defectors live once they arrive in the West. The issue of defectors has been in the news again after a ten-year gap due to the announcement that a Russian engineer who worked on the country’s bomber program is seeking asylum in the US.

What happens to military pilots who defect to US allied countries?
Belenko’s MiG-25 after landing in Japan.

Historically, pilots and others from totalitarian countries, including North Korea, the Soviet Union, and Cuba, have been known to fly to freedom under harrowing circumstances, facing an uncertain reception, only to be hailed as heroes in their new homeland. And they, apparently, like to travel around America without papers

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?

Lt. No Kum-Sok of the North Korean Air Force was an early defector to the United States. In October 1953, three months after the truce that stopped the guns on the Korean peninsula, he flew his North Korean MiG-15 to Kimpo Airfield in South Korea while maintaining formation with a group of sixteen other jets.

Nonetheless, Kum-Sok was the first North Korean pilot to fly west with a MiG-15; in the spring of 1953, two Polish pilots independently flew their MiG-15s to Denmark.

The United States conducted lengthy interrogation of No and an analysis of his plane in order to see how it stacked up against the F-86 Sabre, the most advanced fighter plane produced by the United States at the time.

According to his US adviser, he provided valuable information, including “air units, staffing, structure, and a number of aircraft assigned to the respective units.” No’s fighter received US Air Force markings (see above) and was shipped to the US for testing.

After considerable flight testing, the US offered to return the plane to its “rightful owners.” The offer was ignored, and in November 1957, it was moved to the US Air Force Museum for public display.

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?
Pilot No’s MiG-15 is now on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton.

He then disappeared into the vastness of America, assuming the name of Kenneth Rowe. He became a US citizen in 1962, graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, and began working in the defense industry.

After there, he spent time at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, teaching engineering courses. One day, his daughter asked him why he had quit his work and moved in with his family, and he told her, “This is a large country, and I want to see every part of it.”

A couple of “Farmers.”

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?

There was a chain reaction of similar actions by other North Korean pilots. Captain Lee Ung-pong defected to South Korea in 1983 after flying his MiG-19 there. Because of South Korea’s hefty awards for deserters, Lee rose quickly through the ranks to colonel within two years and amassed a million dollars in that time.

In May 1996, Captain Lee Chul-su, a senior pilot with the First Aviation Division, also defected with his MiG-19, promptly joining the South Korean Air Force. The Korean Times claims that Lee has taught “on many themes, including South Korean flying skills and tactics” and has worked in the “fighter development group” of the Republic of Korea Air Force. ” North.”

Foxbat Flight

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?

There was a spectacular betrayal in September of 1976. The MiG-25 fighter plane, nicknamed ” Foxbat” by NATO, was piloted by Lieutenant Viktor Ivanovich Belenko of the 513th Fighter Regiment, 11th Air Army of the Russian Air Force.

He took off from Chuguyevka Air Base in the Soviet Union. He would never come back. Instead, Belenko flew his plane to Hakodate, Japan, where he handed over his jet and announced his intentions to defect.

What happens to military pilots who defect to USA
Notebook that Belenko had tied to his knee.

After the Cold War ended, Belenko was one of the most prized prisoners captured. In its day, the MiG-25 was hailed as a super fighter because of its Mach 3 speed. The Foxbat was developed to counter the equally swift XB-70 Valkyrie strategic bomber, which posed a threat to the Soviet Union.

It was also rumored to be equipped with a potent Smerch-A3 radar and up to four R-40 radar-guided air-to-air missiles. Unfortunately, after American intelligence was able to study the plane in depth, the Japanese authorities decided to return the plane to the Soviet Union.

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?
Japan returned the MiG-25 aircraft to the Soviet Union.

Belenko defected to the United States, and former president Jimmy Carter granted him citizenship. Also, he established himself as an aviation engineer and consultant. The CIA, which questioned him after his defection, considers the pilot’s knee brace one of his most famous artifacts from the Cold War era. A people search website shows that he has lived in every major region of the US, including the West, Midwest, Northeast, and South.

The reason

What happens to military pilots who defect to US-allied countries?
Viktor Belenko, with pilots from the US Top Gun School, after a flight in the F-5 jet.

Most pilots who defect do so because they value freedom and democracy more than the stifling restrictions exercised by authoritarian governments. As he lies dying at the end of “The Hunt for Red October,” Captain Borodin muses, “I wish I had visited Montana.” The desire expressed by Borodin’s fictional character is, it seems, shared by real-life dropouts.

Via: popular mechanics