Aeroplane June 2017
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Secret MiGs of Bornholm
Based on numerous declassified Secret and Top Secret documents, The Secret MiGs of Bornholm tells in fascinating detail the intriguing story of the covert intelligence exploitation by the West of the most advanced Soviet jet fighter of the time. In one of the hottest periods of the Cold War three Polish Air Force pilots escaped with their MiG-15s to the small Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic and gave Western military intelligence organizations, especially those of the USA and Great-Britain, the opportunity to uncover the secrets of this much-feared communist aircraft. And Denmark, a somewhat reluctant NATO ally, was put under great political pressure to allow the examination by the foreign experts.
A GREAT STORY OF AIR INTELLIGENCE IN THE COLD WAR
On 5 March 1953, the very day Soviet dictator Stalin died, a young Polish Air Force pilot defected with a brand-new Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter to the small Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic. It was the first MiG-15 in the hands of the West. The incident offered an unique and long-sought opportunity for a detailed study of the much-feared Soviet combat aircraft. Denmark, fearing a raid on Bornholm by Polish or Russian special forces to recapture the MiG, wanted to ship the precious jet back to Poland as soon as possible. But its NATO Allies - especially the United States and Great Britain - demanded a full-scale examination of the MiG and pressed Copenhagen to keep the Polish fighter or at least delay its return.
In a tense
political give-and-take the Danish government reluctantly accepted the
help of foreign experts, but insisted that the intelligence exploitation
was kept secret for the rest of the world. To the dismay of Denmark,
the first MiG-15 to Bornholm was followed by two others from Poland.
All these MiGs were covertly examined by foreign experts. But London
and Washington wanted more. Denmark was repeatedly asked by American
and British intelligence organizations to allow test flights with the
MiGs and behind closed doors even de possibility of 'stealing' one of
the MiG-15s was raised. The US Air Force in Europe proposed to give
Copenhagen money to replace the short grass strip on Bornholm with a
long concrete runway. The Americans saw the island, so close to the
Iron Curtain, as an ideal location to lure communist military aircraft
to the West. But they were disappointed. No more East European pilots
fled to Bornholm.
Secret MiGs of Bornholm
Completely rewritten and updated English translation
MiGs of Bornholm is in part a translation of several chapters of the
Dutch language book MiG's op de vlucht. But it is also much more. Completely
revised and rewritten, I have added new details from recently declassified
documents, new maps of the MiG-15 flight profiles, additional photos
and several new chapters.
op de vlucht -
on cover for more information and
© 2009 - 2017 DICK VAN DER AART www.air-intel.nl LAST UPDATE 25 May, 2017