ISIS has reportedly acquired several Russian MiGs, and the U.S. Air Force is praying they send them up.
ISIS has several fighter jets that they have taken from military bases seized during their expansion in the last several months, according to The Daily Beast. Several members of the air force said in interviews that, “there is little chance that the group can do any real damage with those antiques beyond their value as propaganda tools.” One official said explicitly, “If ISIS is flying, or is thinking about flying, it will not be doing so for very long.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human for Human Rights, a human rights group told the Beast that, “ISIS has managed to acquire three Soviet-built Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed and MiG-23 Flogger fighters,” all of which are outdated. One pilot was giddy, “I’d sell my first born to engage all three… by myself,” while another told the publication, “Send me in, coach! There’s no way they get those airborne!”
ISIS has been using the planes in propaganda videos in the region and former Iraqi fighter pilots have been training ISIS militants to fly the jets. Despite the outdated technology and inexperience of some of the pilots, some officials urged caution saying that with the right pilot, the planes are still capable of doing damage.
Still, Air Force officials are skeptical about ISIS’ capabilities, telling The Beast, “It takes months, if not years, of sophisticated training for a pilot to reach the level of proficiency needed for successful combat operations.”