The Day Lt Belenko Defected...

On September 6, 1976, Lieutenant Belenko from the 513th Fighter Regiment, 11th Air Army, Soviet Air Defence gained worldwide attention when defecting to the West, by unexpectedly landing in Hakodate, Japan. The reason this event had such an impact is that Lt Belenko used the most closely guarded secret of the Soviet Union as his means of escape.....none other than the MiG-25 "Foxbat"


This was the very first time that Western experts were able to get a close look at the aircraft, and it revealed many secrets and surprises. Belenko had even brought the pilot's operations manual for the MiG-25, expecting to assist American pilots in evaluating and testing the aircraft.

His defection singlehandedly caused significant damage to the Soviet Union Air Force. The Japanese government initially gave permission for the U.S. to examine the aircraft superficially with ground tests on the radar and engines, but eventually allowed a complete deconstruction of the secret aircraft.

It was then moved by US transport from Hakodate to Hyakuri Air Base. During the dismantling and examination of the aircraft, it was determined by experts that the jet was an interceptor and not a fighter-bomber. Once a thorough examination and inspection were completed, the aircraft was moved from Hyakuri to the port of Hitachi on 11 November on board a convoy of trailers.

Finally, on the 15th of November, 30 crates were loaded on the Soviet cargo ship Taigonos, and the remains of the super secret aircraft arrived three days later in Vladivostok. Japan then followed up billing the Soviets $40,000 for crating services.

Belenko was interrogated and debriefed by the US Government for five months after his defection, then employed as a consultant for several years thereafter. Belenko was granted asylum by U.S. President Gerald Ford, and a sizeable trust fund was set up for him, granting him a very comfortable living in later years. A senior diplomat described the Soviet position as "sulky about the whole affair"





  • Thomas E Peterson

  • JodeeJar


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