Yugoslav “Aeromagazin,” a magazine published by and for the flying enthusiasts and aeronautical modelers, revealed additional details of how the Serb civilians, not the Yugoslav Air Force, came with the idea which preserved the Serb military’s most valuable flying assets - the MiG 29s. And how these Serb patriots built them while NATO bombs were raining all around them.

You can check out at our Web site a  album of photographs by Djordje Ivanov, which illustrate the various phases of construction and deployment of the MiG-29 decoys, which the Serb aeronautical enthusiasts jokingly dubbed the “M-18”

About 90% of all the decoys built by the “M-18” team were destroyed by NATO’s bombs.

“Under normal circumstances, every designer-modeler would have loved to nurture and protect his babies,” said Radoje Glagojevic, one of the “M-18” designers. “(But in this case), we wanted the NATO aggressors to destroy as many of them as possible.One model destroyed - one Mig-29 more.” Blagojevic is a modeler from Nova Pazova, a small town about 20 miles northwest of Belgrade, close to the Batajnica military airport, which was practically a nightly target of NATO bombs during its 11-week air campaign.


“It is widely known that… the most advanced aircraft of the Yugoslav Air Force are the MiG-29 fighters which were procured 12 years ago. It is also no secret, and the NATO planners in Brussels knew it very well, that we bought only one squadron of MiG-29s - 14 one-seaters, and two two-seaters. At the time of the NATO alliance’s aggression on our country, these MiGs were our only aircraft which could have realistically confronted the most advanced attacking airplanes.

But considering that even on the first night, the NATO aggressors engaged 400-450 fighter aircraft vs. a dozen or so Yugoslav MiGs, the realistic advantage was about 30-to-1 in favor of the enemy. As the air campaign continued, with every passing day such a ratio was becoming less favorable for us.

So given such an imbalance in air power, we were forced to create model of Mig-29

‘We had to find a way to preserve our aircraft,’ he says. ‘Our solution was - moving constantly both the decoys and the real airplanes, so that the decoys become true shadows of real aircraft. We made the decoys ‘come to life’ mechanically and electronically. We imitated the its engines; we artificially created smoke from burning kerosene in ‘smoke boxes;’ the metal skin created an appropriate radar image… Our team was named ‘M-18,’ as the(alphabetical) follow-on to the L-18 designation which the Yugoslav MiG-29s have’.”

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