Several military aircraft parked at the Merowe Air Base in Sudan have been destroyed as a result of ongoing fighting between the Sudanese military and the Rapid Support Force (RSF) militia.
The exact number and types of aircraft damaged or destroyed have not been confirmed, but reports suggest that they include at least one helicopter and several fixed-wing aircraft.
A number of advanced MiG-29s belonging to the Egyptian Air Force that were captured by Sudanese RSF militia forces at Merowe Air Base outside the country’s capital of Khartoum.
The Egyptian MiGs were seen on the first day of the fighting on the ground surrounded by RSF paramilitaries, which had apparently captured the facility, with satellite images released since then indicating that the fighters have been destroyed on the ground.
The Merowe Air Base is located in Northern State and is one of the key military installations in Sudan. It is home to a significant number of military aircraft and plays a critical role in supporting military operations across the country.
The Sudanese Air Force has deployed its MiG-29 fighter jets in support of the Army’s ongoing military operations against the ‘Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF) militia in several parts of the country.
Recent satellite imagery shows multiple aircraft were badly damaged and some others totally destroyed.
The crisis in Sudan has led to the capture of some of Egypt’s advanced MiG-29M/M2 fighters deployed in the country for a joint training.
Egypt received 46 MiG-29M/M2 fighters after placing an order in 2015. These aircraft are equipped with a Zhuk-M1SE mechanically scanned array radar and can carry a T-220 targeting pod. The wide array of weapons options includes active-radar R-77 (AA-12 Adder) air-to-air missiles, subsonic Kh-35 (AS-20 Kayak) or supersonic Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton) anti-ship missiles, Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) anti-radiation missiles, as well as KAB-500Kr TV-guided bombs.
Some photographs circulating on social media had shown that at least two additional Egyptian MiG-29 were stored inside a hangar at the air base. The recent satellite imagery by Planet Labs Inc shows a strike impact at that same hangar, in the exact location where the MiG-29 were located before. This makes it possible that the Egyptian MiG-29s at Merowe Air Base have been damaged or destroyed by the fighting.
Another satellite image taken yesterday morning, shows one of the MiG-29M/M2s totally burned out on the apron next to two others. These are the same aircraft that showed up in videos of militants celebrating their capture, along with images of two more in a nearby hangar.
Furthermore, some of Sudan’s relatively new Chinese-built FTC-2000 light combat aircraft/jet trainers were also destroyed in the attacks. Sudan fields only half dozen of these aircraft.
The fighting between the Sudanese military and the RSF militia has been ongoing for several years, with the RSF accused of numerous human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape. The deployment of airpower in the conflict has raised concerns about civilian casualties and human rights violations, as the RSF has been known to use civilians as human shields and to carry out attacks in civilian areas.
The destruction of military aircraft at the Merowe Air Base is a significant setback for the Sudanese military and highlights the ongoing challenges it faces in its fight against the RSF militia. It also underscores the importance of finding a peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict in Sudan.