Resistance Stiffens


There is a move underway for the US to replace Polish and Romanian MiGs currently in service with those and other former Soviet Socialist Republics with US F-16’s and other aircraft if they transfer those aircraft to Ukraine. This is not a no-fly zone, it’s a military sale. Ukraine has pilots who are trained to fly those MiGs and other aircraft.

The Polish Air Force currently has 6 MiG 29UB (two-seat fighter trainers) aircraft that can be used as air superiority fighters and 23 MiG 29 fighters that can be transferred to Ukraine. There are also 32 Su 22MF/UM3K fighter bombers in their inventory There is a meeting tomorrow between the USA (Ambassador Blinken, members of Congress, and US Air Force) and Poland to receive contractual replacements from the US inventory for the aircraft they lend-lease to Ukraine.  Poland also flies the F-16 so that would be the likely replacement. I know that they also want A-10 Warthogs so maybe they’ll go to Poland.

Additionally, Poland has Mi-17 helicopter gunships that might be replaced by AH-64’s from the American inventory. I have no specific details on that the way that I do on the fighters.

Ukraine has no pilots who are trained to fly US aircraft, so sending them American aircraft for lend-lease won’t work. There is also the possibility that foreign military (Flying Tiger) mercenary pilots who are trained to fly former Soviet aircraft would fly some of the lend-lease units.

I have no details on Romanian transfers. I think that is in line after the Polish transfer is made. The concept is to give Ukraine better control of the air. Romania fly the F-16 primarily,  but they have MiG 29 aircraft in mothballs that can be made combat-ready.


Armored Fighting Vehicles and Tanks

Poland is receiving deliveries of M-1 Abrams tanks beginning this year and has German Leopard 2 tanks in inventory.

My understanding is that their main armored strength is 318 Russian T-72 tanks to be refurbished and modified to T-72M1R standard.

Currently, 75 T-72M1 are modified to T-72M1R.  My sense is that they are also on the lend-lease table if the US/NATO will replace them. If the transfer is made to Ukraine, it would give them a potent striking force.

The Poles also have 800 or so BWP-1 – Polish designation for BMP-1 armored fighting vehicles. Those too may be on the trading block. The same is true for their older artillery.

Nobody hates the Russians as much as the Poles do.


  1. Re-reading this my apologies if this is a bit scatterlogical, but I’m trying to view this through a bigger picture lens.

    I wonder if this will end up happening. Looking at the wider picture, the way the US has been throwing it’s weight around is starting to bite. E.g. Looking at sanctions on India for not playing along with Russia has pushed them to look into non USD denominated trade. China and Russia already trade without the USD, Arab countries are looking to invest more in China, and there’s a big chunk of the world that would like to sink the boot in.
    I note that China is the elephant in the room with the current crisis, I doubt Putin would have taken such a step without the tacit backing China has clearly given them going by recent statements around the Olympics.
    With the US being on the tail end of a debt cycle, IF there’s a rush to dump USD denominated trade that leaves some awfully big implications on the table. Arms sales might give a cash injection when it’s needed, but will the USA have the ability to deliver or will you be wrapped up in internal strife?
    Living in a country where the game plan is pretty much hold out long enough for the states to rock up I’m pretty bloody worried!

    • As you know from reading this blog, I for one, have no faith or confidence in the current US Administration.

      The fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has yet to play out. Putin bet on a 10-day war and we’re in Day 11. Ukraine has no plan to surrender and lend lease, if the agreements. are cut tomorrow, will breathe new life into their armed forces.

      China smells blood in the water. They now have a friend of convenience in Russia, and it remains to be seen where that goes.

  2. I didn’t know the Flying Tigers were still around. Interesting. If it all comes to pass it could be very interesting indeed.

  3. Will this bring us into a long-term confrontation with Mr. Putin? Mr. Xi?
    Is anybody precisely certain exactly which side we wish support (or none)?
    I’m still having a problem “following the money”; anyone else in the same boat?

    • I don’t think so. Selling Ukraine arms is a different thing than having USA and allies establish a no-fly zone. Russia won’t be happy but absent an invasion of the Balkans or launching nukes, there isn’t much they can do. Russia shot its bolt and the war is going their way slowly.

  4. Cynic I am our “leaders” will fuck this up. Is there anyone above O-6 in our military that has any competency? By that, I mean real world military competency.

    • The top brass are mountebanks.

      The 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne divisions are in Poland and the US is sending armor. The commitment to Poland is clear.

      • Putin is probably smart enough to not mess with Poland. Are the Poles smart enough not to stuck their reproductive members into the Ukraine mess?

        • I think that the Poles plan to engage in lend-lease to Ukraine even as they absorb a million displaced Ukrainian women, children and old men. They know the Russians for who they are. And the Russians in Ukraine are doing what Russians do.

          Wise or unwise? There is danger if Ukrainian (former Polish) jets begin to use Polish Air Force bases but for the greater part, particularly as Spring arrives, the Russian equipment can be operated from makeshift runways (highways) and maintenance points, surrounded by SAMs and defensive positions inside Ukraine, on the Polish or Romanian borders.

    • All of the Ukrainian AF bases were attacked day-one, but the Russians wanted to use those runways themselves. None of the airborne assaults worked.

      Today, the Ukrainian defensive SAMs are present and on alert at those AF bases and they are also defended by armored infantry. Whether they can hold out against Russian cruise missile attacks is another thing.

      Ukrainian frontal aviation, (Russian designs) can operate from makeshift runways much more easily than US aircraft can.

      • I feel, because I’m such an expert, that Russia assumed an easier victory and went soft/restrained over the last week or so.

        Cruise missile strikes on airfields reported today and, apparently, TUs firing up (what, they still exist?!?)

  5. I think Putin’s plan is (or was) to take Ukraine within a few weeks and install a puppet government, move into Moldova, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania…former Soviet buffer states he’s always wanted back and then to wait for the US dollar to no longer be the worlds reserve currency. Noted historian Stephen Cohan predicted all this is 2013. Obama, Sullivan, Nuland and Blinkin were the driving forces behind the Crimea fiasco then and now that they’re back running the WH, it’s showtime. They’ve been pushing Putin for 10 years and he’s had enough. A tangled web indeed.

  6. Very interesting. Over at Chicago Boys (the website) there are reports of the Ukrainians using flood control to flood land and trap Russians (I keep trying to type ‘Soviet’ instead of ‘Russian’) and an interesting analysis of the failure of the ground game so far. Especially why the CCT (cheap Chinese tires) are biting the Russkies in the arse.

    Then there’s the Russians’ reliance on Baofong UHF radios as military communication devices. So much for a secure radio net.

    But the Poles? They operate 250 Leopard 2 tanks, which is more than Germany actually has. The M1 will be a good addition to their armed forces.

    And it will be, er, interesting how the current administration will screw it up, which they will, spectacularly, in spades, with pink waders on.

      • I like sprinkles…on my ice cream.

        Beans, seems the Russkies are in trouble. Is the disarray real? Can they be that inept? Or is this part theater so Joe Pudding Pants and his Handlers can blame their complete and utter failures on “Ukraine!”?

    • I’d rather have Brandon in his basement in Delaware, sleeping and chomping down his stewed prunes than making decisions. One can only hope that the Ho’s handlers are keeping her shut down so that she won’t speak and embarrass the nation. (vain hope)

      Who will fly the A-10’s? The only pilots who fly them are US pilots and I just don’t see that happening. They might get squadrons of Su-25’s though.

  7. The Air Farce brass has been wanting to get shed of the A-10 in the worst possible way/ways almost since they went into the inventory so you can betcha yer azz they’d be in favor of it.

  8. I’m pretty sure that aircraft and armor transfers to Ukraine will be too late to matter, if they happen at all. The time for this was years ago.

    It’s not like modern equipment like this is really plug-and-play, it takes time to get it meaningfully operational.

    But. I’ll be happy to be surprised if the Russians keep screwing up so long that this stuff matters.

    As an aside… geeze, the Fitter is a freakin’ antique. I would not want to be the guy (not that I’m capable) to have to fly them in that theatre.


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