Expected to be impressed.
It can take thousands of years for the desert to give up its secrets, but the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s tyranical regime in Iraq saw a number of modern oddities revealed. This MiG-25 Foxbat interceptor was one of several combat aircraft unearthed in 2003 by US-led forces from the sands of Al-Taqqadum airbase, and was subsequently moved to America for preservation.
Once troops got wind of the MiG’s location during an unfruitful hunt for WMDs in the opening months of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was dug out by hand and dragged from its hiding place. Intact but missing its wings, the jet was one of two MiG-25s transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for examination.
While the intentions behind the robust Russian-built jet’s burial seem clear, it’s hard to imagine the aircraft being made servicable again had coalition forces not captured the facility at Al-Taqqadum. But while the battered shells of Iraq’s former fighter force litter airbases across the country, this Foxbat remained hidden long enough to escape a similar fate.
The MiG-25 (serial number 25105) can now be seen in the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, where it arrived in 2006. The fighter is earmarked for display although staff are reportedly searching for a set of wings