A Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum was given a shark mouth, a type of nose art often applied to aircraft flying in the SEAD role.
Some interesting images first shared online on Jan. 23, 2024, by the WarBirdCrew Telegram Channel, show a Ukrainian MiG-29 with a high-visibility shark mouth nose art.
Interestingly, the same aircraft appears to carry live AGM-88 HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile), a type of missile used to attack the radar of a SAM (Surface to Air Missile) in a typical SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) mission. The missile, previously employed by three NATO aircraft types only, the Tornado ECR, the F-16CM Block 50 and the F/A-18-EA-18G, was delivered by the U.S. to the Ukrainian Air Force back in the summer 2022, and integrated on the MiG-29 to enhance its SEAD capabilities, and later on the Su-27 too.
Seen here armed with a US-supplied AGM-88 HARM.
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) January 27, 2024
While its origins date back to WWI, the shark mouth has become a symbol of the SEAD role since the Vietnam War. Many combat aircraft hunting enemy radars with anti-radiation missiles have sported a shark mouth since a tradition that started with the F-105G tasked with the “Wild Weasel” role in SEA (South East Asia). Several units of the U.S. Air Force flying the F-4Gs and F-16Cs in the SEAD role as well as the U.S. Navy EA-6Bs and the Italian Air Force Tornado ECRs (just to name but few) have sported or still sport nowadays either a high-viz or a low-visibility sharkmouth.
As for Ukraine’s MiG-29s, the Ukrainian Air Force has already adorned its Fulcrum jets with a shark mouth in the past: at least one MiG-29 Fulcrum-C (25 White) of the 92nd Istrebitel’nyy Aviatsionnyy Polk (IAP; Fighter Aviation Regiment), at Vasylkiv Air Base near Kyiv, sported the peculiar nose art according to the book MiG-29 & MiG-35 by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov. Arguably, other Ukrainian MiG-29s had the shark mouth too.