Soviet and Russian Military Aircraft in the Americas


Yefim Gordon & Dmitriy Kommisarov




$56.95 from Specialty Press


Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN 978-1-902109-54-1, 272 pages, over 550 illustrations

Over the recent years, Hikoki has been producing some really great books on subjects that are not normally covered by many others. In this case, we have an exhaustive look at Soviet and Russian military types operated within both North and South America. What is not covered are civil types and I am sure that this will be covered at a later date.

The use of Soviet aircraft in the Americas has been quite minimal for the most part as the US kept a pretty watchful eye on such going's on, and generally used its political influence to steer some nations away and towards more Western (as in US) choices. However, over the last few decades, that has not been the case as US influence has waned from what it was in the 1950s and 1960s.

Most will rightly guess that the first big Soviet military weapons use in this hemisphere would be Cuba, however, it was not Cuba that was the first with Soviet war planes but the United States. How this could be is easily explained by war booty from the Korean War in the form of IL-10s and even some from Eastern European defectors such as with the Yak-23. Even at the height of the Cold War, the USAF was flying MiGs that came from a variety of sources such as Israel and Indonesia. Even Egypt was able to supply some types once it started receiving US aid. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the floodgates opened and the USAF was able to obtain a number of other aircraft as well as do training with crews from former Warsaw Pact air forces.

However, the vast majority of Russian types were purchased by other nations, mostly in South America, who could not resist a good deal, even if it came with a bit of baggage. As such, some nations, such as Peru and Venezuela have a considerable force of Russian types. Not surprisingly, the helicopter is one that is most often seen with a variety of air arms. Mexico, for instance, has a considerable number of Mil helos as do other nations.

In this book, two authors who are reknown for their expertise in the area of things Soviet/Russian, have done their usual thorough research into this subject. The book is organized into three main areas; North America, Central America, and South America. Within these things are alphabetical so for South America you start with Bolivia and end with Venzuela. Each section has a full listing of the types, serial and eventual fate (if known). There are loads of great photographs, most in color, as well as a bevy of superbly done full color profiles to help illustrate this most interesting title.

As with all the titles in this series, it is superbly done. Not only is it interesting reading, but it a great reference to boot. A book that I loved to read and highly recommend to you.

February 2017


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