Nowhere in the world has the clash of East vs. West hardware been more hard fought than the Middle East. Soviet arms were first supplied to Egypt in the 1950s. Since then, Soviet hardware as flourished throughout the region. This hardback, detailing such Soviet-supplied arms in the form of warplanes, is printed on high quality paper with over 375 photos, most being in color. The book is broken down into chapters by country, including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel (yes, Israel too), Jordon, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, UAE, and Yemen.
The quality of the photos is what really impresses me. Most are in color but they all are quite useful from the modeler’s and historian’s perspective. The black and white ones are mainly older, historical pictures, while modern photos are in color. There is something here for everyone. If you like fighters, transport, bombers, or helicopters, they are all covered. The photos of the MiG-15/17/22/23/25/29s, Su-7/17/22s will be inspiring to the model builder with the recent releases of Soviet fighters by Trumpeter, Eduard, and Academy. The MiG-21s in Egyptian service alone offer something for everyone.
Each country’s acquisition and employment of the various aircraft types is covered. With the authors both well known in the Soviet aviation circles, they put their expertise to good use. Each major conflict is discussed from the point of its pertinent countries.
The color profiles will prove invaluable to a model builder. They are of high quality, expertly printed, and cover a variety of aircraft. Decal manufacturers would do well to look over this book. There are some great paint schemes to complement national markings.
The aircraft types, colors, and markings are really interesting. The displayed weathering of the paint schemes will prove quite a challenge to replicate. A listing of all the aircraft that were purchased by the involved countries is included. This list is quite exhaustive and informative. I know of some S2’s (Security Officers in the US Army) who would have killed for this information. Some of these photos must have been difficult to get, such as those out of Iran.
The book, for me, has a little bit of personal history. There is an Iraqi Hind that I got to sit in at the Dhahran port after Desert Storm. It was nice to see her again.
The unique chapter in this book is the Israeli section. Israel has captured and evaluated many Soviet aircraft. You want something different? – try putting your MiG-23 in a combination of Syrian and Israeli markings.
With the recent upsurge of Soviet aircraft into the modeling world, this book is an essential reference. There is something here for everyone interested in Soviet aircraft or just cool paint schemes. This is the second book in the series of Soviet and Russian aircraft employed around the world. It is, to me, the most historically significant region for these aircraft.
My sincere gratitude to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for allowing me to review this book.