The forgotten planes at the Military Airport of Kucove can be find in the back off of Rruga Stanisllave Zuber, Kuçovë, Berat, Albania.
The Kucove Military Airbase is famed for housing retired fighter aircraft. These include such planes as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, MiG-19, Yakovlev trainers and the Shenyang J-5s and J-6s. The base was built in 1952 and finished in 1955.
With the occurrence of the 1997 Albanian Civil War (the Pyramid Crisis), Berat became one of the main centers of the rebellion. Rebels took control of 19 Soviet made MiG combat fighters at Kucove.
The MiG-19 was created to allow for 100 hours of flight before being overhauled. The NATO reporting name for this craft is FARMER. The Chinese built version of the MiG-19 is the Shenyang J-6. These aircraft are still in use by North Korea and Nambia.
Reporting name for the MiG-15 by NATO is FAGOT. It was one of the first jet fighters to achieve high transonic speeds with swept wings. The MiG-15 is thought to be one of the most produced jet aircraft. The estimated total manufactured is over 18,000. This aircraft was equipped with auto cannons of 23 mm and 37 mm. It could also hold a variety bombs / missiles / rockets up to 200 pounds.
Today, the MiG-15s, have become popular as privately owned sports planes. It is still used as an advanced trainer in the Korean’s People’s Army Air Force and by the Guinea-Bissau Air Force.
In 2004, some aircraft were auctioned to help modernize Kucove for membership into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). By 2005, Albanian J-5s and J-6s were grounded due to lack of spare parts.
Improvements to the base have also been made; these included : repaving of runways, new lighting and tower control. By the end of 2018, it was announced that NATO would be investing 58 million USD (50 million Euros) into the Kucove Airbase.
The show, Top Gear, used the base runaway as filming ground for the 3rd episode of their 16th season in 2011.
Where are the retired fighter aircraft of Kucove located? You can find it with these coordinates. 40.774672, 19.932188
Images by Rob Schleiffert and used under CC by-NC 2.0.