In a move shrouded in secrecy, the United States has reportedly purchased 81 obsolete Soviet-era combat aircraft from Kazakhstan.

While the exact purpose of the acquisition remains unclear, the deal highlights Kazakhstan’s growing distance from Russia and its attempts to modernize its military with Western alternatives.

Auction of Obsolete Aircraft by Kazakhstan

According to the Kyiv Post and other reports, Kazakhstan auctioned off 117 MiG-27 fighter-bombers, MiG-29 fighters, and Su-24 bombers in October 2022.

These aircraft, produced in the 1970s and 1980s, were deemed unusable by Kazakhstan as they underwent a modernization program favoring advanced Russian models like the Su-30SM.

The MiG-27, estimated at a value of around $2 million per unit in functioning condition according to Airforce Technology, was a workhorse during the Soviet-Afghan War but is considered outdated compared to modern fighters.

The MiG-29, valued at roughly $8 million per unit when operational, remains a capable dogfighter in some air forces, while the Su-24, priced around $15 million per unit in working order, is a proven all-weather bomber.