Sunday, August 17, 2008

Buried Treasure at Taqaddum

As I mentioned previously, Al Taqaddum (TQ) used to be an Iraqi Air Force base. Before the start of the war in 2003, Saddam Hussein had most of his most advanced aircraft flown out of the country, mainly to Iran. The remaining aircraft were buried in the sand at various bases. Here are some pictures I took of some of the aircraft that have been unearthed here at TQ.

These first pictures are of Ilyushin-28 Beagle bombers. The Beagle is a jet bomber first introduced into service in 1950. (This Wikipedia page has a picture of these same abandoned Beagles at TQ.)

These next pictures are Sukhoi Su - 25 Frogfoots. The Frogfoot is a close air support/ground attack aircraft. This is apparent by the number of hardpoints under the wings for carrying large amounts of ordnance.

These next pictures are MiG-29 Fulcrums. Fulcrums are among the most advanced fighters in the world. They are 4th generation fighters like the Russian Su-27 Flanker and the American F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon. Why on earth Saddam Hussein would bury them in the desert is beyond me. Waste of damn fine aircraft.

These next two pictures are MiG-21 Fishbeds. The Fishbed first introduced in 1959 is a 1960s era fighter aircraft that was exported to over 55 countries in the 60s and 70s. As you can see, these have not been completely excavated. Also, in all the pictures, you can see that the aircraft have been cordoned off with barbed wire. This is because an American serviceman was killed when he was trying to retrieve the parachute from one of the MiG-21s and accidentally triggered the ejection seat which he assumed was no longer operational.

I have more pictures of these same aircraft but those I will post on my Kodak Gallery, as Blogger's layout tools for posting photos are cumbersome and not very flexible.


Szabó Ákos said...

Thank you for Su-25 photos!
I am a modeller from Hungary and i would like to build this Su-25.

I have one question. this is the table in front of the Su-25
I have only one photo, but this photo not showing all letters.

Alain DeWitt said...

Hi Szabo,

Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I don't work at that base any longer. In fact, no Americans do; it's been turned back over to the Iraqis.

I spent a year in 2008/2009 there but don't recall ever seeing this sign. It was a pretty big base in terms of area.

Sorry. I wish I could have been more help.

Szabó Ákos said...

Thanks for the fast answer.
I made an attempt only, you remember this maybe.
The last two picture not a MiG-21.
The correct type is Sukhoi Su-22 UM3K: