Polish Air Force Mikoyan MiG-29A
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 fighter was a formidable foe when the aircraft, first flown in 1977, initially appeared. This tactical fighter, codenamed 'Fulcrum' by NATO, was rugged yet very agile, and would have been more than a match for its Western opponents in the latter years of the Cold War. The Polish Air Force started receiving MiG-29s in 1989, and the type remains in front-line service with the air arm to this day. It has two bases equipped with 'Fulcrums', of which Poland is the biggest operator within NATO, extra examples having been acquired when first the Czech Air Force and then the German Air Force retired the type. They have been highly active on Baltic Air Policing duties and take part regularly in multi-national exercises. The display aircraft at RIAT 2016 hails from 1 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego (1st Tactical Fighter Sqn). Upgrades to the Polish MiG-29 fleet mean that current plans do not envisage its retirement until 2028.