the information from acig is not true at best. what realy happened was described by an eritrean pilot in an interview. the interview is done in eritrean language (tigrigna). i will try to translate later to my best to make clear of what happened in the air battle. some one tried to translate the interview but to my opinion, he has not adequetly included all the information. the interview is long so i will hilight the important events now.
the pilot is Dejen Ande Hishel one of the four eritrean pilots who took a crush cource training in russia to become a fighter pilot of the mikoyan mig29 fulkrum. the other three were Yonas Misghinna, Samuel Girmay and Iyoub. among them Dejen was the most capable and at times he was flying training sorties up to four times a day in the mig29 in those few months in russia.
back to eritrea, according to Dejen the fulcrums which arrived to eritrea was supposed to be new but they were apparently used. there were no bullets for the cannons and radar and missile mulfunction accured. the war with ethiopia started again for the second round, near the town of badme in februari 1999. Dejen as the most capable one was given the task of cap and sweep missions (air to air).
i will come back with the exact dates later (i will revisit the interview again to be exact). one day in february, Dejen went to a cap mission to the frontline when a sam missile was launched at him. as he saw it with his own eyes and was carrying only air to air missiles he was able to take evasive manuvers and evaded the sam missile. back to base he warrned the commands that the area is dangerous to operate.
despite that fact , Yonas was sent one morrning on a bombing mission to that area and never returned. after a couple of days Samuel too went to the same place at the same altitude as Yonas. he too never returned. later it was known that Yonas's body was found away from the crashed fulcrum, strapped to the ejection seat that failed to oppen the parachute. Dejen believes that Yonas must have ejected att low altitude and enverted.
now keep in mind that it is a known fact that ethiopian sukhoi 27s were flown by russian merceneries (i dont know to what extent). Dejen simply said in the interview that a third fulcrum had incountered trouble again in february or march. to my understanding, this could be the one that was downded or damaged as a resut of a dogfight with an ethiopian flanker (su 27). the only casuality for the eritrean airforce in the entire war were Yonas and Samuel. after the downing of Samuel, all fulcrums were grounded and never participated again for the whole remaining time of the war. the story about eritrean mig 29 downing other ethiopian migs or suchois is not true either.
Dejen was not happy to hear the decision to ground all operations after the lose of two mig 29s. he describes that an apportunity to revenge was lost in the battle of igri-mekel, which accured after the battle of badme. Igri_mekel was just about 80 kilometers from the eritrean air base in asmara. it was also a higher place,which was according to Dejen very suitable to opperate, unlike badme which was long distance. as to my oppinion Dejen is giving the hint that the fulcrums combat radius probably was an issue.
here is the links to the interview (part 2 specifically) and a short summarized and translated article. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cw26luObo4https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2014/ ... ty-prison/