Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

At the beginning of 1976, an international scandal broke out: A Soviet Air Force pilot, Viktor Belenko, escaped the USSR together with the newest MiG-25 jet. He landed in Japan first and then asked for asylum in the USA. In the Soviet country he left a wife and four kids. He never saw them again.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

During training flights, when a top Soviet general arrived at Vladivostok, he decided to escape. He disappeared from radars instantly. It looked like his plane had plunged and was going straight down into the sea, and he was dead. Emergency rescue teams went in search. However it came out later that he cheated the radars. He dove down but didn’t crash – he flew away at a very low altitude and flew in the shadow of a huge nearby mountain.

This photo above was taken right after he landed on a civil air field in Japan.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

The Japanese air force was urgently called in to intercept him. However, as soon as they began tracking his plane, it disappeared from their radars. He plunged again and now landed at a civil airport. After the jet landed the pilot quickly exited the jet and demanded that the hide him from everyone. Then he asked for a asylum in the USA.

This was his jet, hidden under a temporary hangar.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

Soviet officials didn’t want to believe that their pilot escaped. They thought he just got lost and had to land in Japan due to some emergency, and after he landed, the Japanese took him hostage and were now giving him some drug to make him speak.

However, later another Soviet pilot was asked to repeat all of the maneuvers Dmitry made, and they could see that it was not an accident but rather a well thought out scheme to escape the Soviet radars. So they started to believe he escaped voluntarily.

This is his plane and his photo above.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

The same year, the Soviet government made a press release that the Soviet jet landed in Japan by emergency. They brought the pilot’s wife and mother onto the TV and asked them to refute any rumors that their son and husband has escaped. He was just 29 years old at the time. He had a very good reputation, however he did ask to be transferred to the Pacific Air Force Unit just a few months before his escape. Here is a photo of him greeting American pilots.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

His plane was wanted by all of the intelligence agency around the world. It was a rare and unique plane, it could achieve record speeds and altitudes. It was the most modern and most top secret Soviet Air Force jet at the time. All Soviet airfields that had these planes were subsequently secured by special Spetsnaz forces.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

The USSR demanded Japan immediately return the pilot and the jet. While international talks were taking place, the jet was disassembled, put into containers and sent to the USA. There it was meticulously studied and sent back to Japan. Japan returned the jet to the USSR two years after the incident. The Soviet Union said their losses were over 2 billion rubles. Japan paid them retribution of just 7 million rubles.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

Belenko was a top class pilot, however everyone who knew him said he was too ambitious. He thought his merits were highly underestimated in USSR. Some thought he was hired by the US intelligence services some time before his defection, and he had to land at a US air base in Japan but he became afraid he would be shot down before he got there, so he landed at the nearest airport.

Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet

His behavior was also strange. He went on vacations only to one small town at the Soviet Pacific, even before he started serving there, then after coming back home he didn’t tell anyone what he was doing there. He was studying the English language, and wanted to be transferred to the Pacific. This is his military ID in the picture.

After his escape all Soviet jets doing training were fueled up with only enough fuel for one exercise so they couldn’t make it much further. After Belenko got to the USA he became popular among journalists. He went on to teach in one of the USA’s Military Academies. He was also traveling and telling stories about harsh Soviet realities. He received his American citizenship for “contributing to national security”. He also married an American woman and lived with her for fifteen years.

It’s not very clear if he is still alive, or what he does in the USA now, if he is.

15 thoughts on “Russian Pilot Escaped to USA on Super Secret Air Force MiG-25 Jet”

  1. Belenko did Western military intelligence a big favor by bringing that aircraft over. However, he was (is) a traitor by any definition. He claimed to have shot and probably killed a young conscript who was guarding the plane. He also claimed to have drugged his squadron mates to keep them from chasing him.
    He was sometimes treated as a hero in the U.S. and was paid well for delivery of the aircraft. No honorable person should have anything to do with that guy.

  2. He was a good soul. He died in 2006. Here is good interview:

    Russia may be a powerful military presence but most people in the west do not know that Russia is basically a poor third world country for its common citizens. Its doctors are well trained but their hospital facilities are about 100 years behind the west.

  3. The plane was returned in 2 and half months not 2 years. It was missing around 20 odd parts after the Soviets reassembled it.

  4. After his defection, he co-wrote an autobiography, MiG Pilot, The Final Escape of Lieutenant Belenko with Reader’s Digest writer John Barron.[4]

    While residing in the United States, Belenko married a music teacher from North Dakota, Coral, and fathered two sons, Tom and Paul. He later divorced. He also has a son from his first marriage. Belenko has never divorced his Russian wife.[5] After the breakup of the Soviet Union, he visited Moscow in 1995 on business

  5. What a traitor. To betray your own country like that. The country were your family lives. The country that fed you and educated you. The country tat gave you the privilege of flying its top secret plane.

    And this guy betrayed it.

    His whole family shouldve been sent to Gulag because of him. Maybe that wouldve breathe some sense into him.

    Billions of rubles and years of studying and testing went into thin air because of him. And as for 20 parts tat are missing they were probably not something west had at the time or else they wouldve been returned.

    KGB did a poor job apparently. The guy lived for more than 30 years after it.

    When ordinary people betray their country it is offense that should be punishable by death but to betray the one country that cherished more people than a capital only a lifelong dungeon in Siberia for im and his entire family shouldve sufficed. Just as for Mitrokhin.

    • Good point Lee. I’m glad that he went over to the West. His defection revealed to him the sad condition of the Soviet Union. At least he had his eyes opened about the hopeless condition of the USSR. The people of Russia are still struggling with their historic past.

      Now we have Cold War lite…..the people of Russia live in an outdoor prison…..both mental and physical.

      The people of the US live in an ever increasing nation of censorship. in 2017 The people of the US are loosing their freedom of speech.

  6. Belenko was on a training mission with other MIG 25s but all were unarmed. He didn’t shoot anyone to gain access to the aircraft an he didn’t drug anyone. By the time the Sovs realized what he was doing he was already in Japan. The Japanese did charge the Sovs US $40,000 to crate up the parts and for damage to their airfield, which is funny. He did have a wife in Russia and one son… not four. The Sovs DID spread several stories about his being captured, executed and otherwise brought to justice… but he’s still alive at 70, not dead as claimed above. Yes, he was a traitor, but in a system as broken and corrupt as the former Soviet Union, and with his marriage failing anyway, why not try to make something better for yourself? It’s pretty much been proven by the few who have gone the OTHER way that even tho things can be bad in the US they aren’t nearly as pathetic as the USSR was or North Korea is now.

  7. So what exactly happened to his Russian wife and kids. Don’t tell me they were not punished somehow, things like not being able to get into university, hold a decent job, the usual terror methods routinely employed in all the Warsaw Pact countries.

  8. This website is crawling with westernerns. Why is that so? IS CIA arranging for you to spread idiocy among people while they work their way in the shadow and silence? Please tell us ho w people like this looser are actually good for someone else besides enemy…

  9. Dear Slaven, in case you did not notice, this is English Russia website in English, not Russian. It has some unique pictures, not available elsewhere. I do not work for CIA (wish they paid me though), but I can offer you an opposing view. Internet is absolutely overrun by paid Russian trolls that spread disinformation all over the place. I would not be surprised if Russian interference in other countries, especially in elections, will eventually result in Russia being banned from Internet.

  10. Slaven, communism and nazism are two sick ideologies and sorry, your words equals to words of some stupid gestapo idiot. Soviets came to my country in 1968 as bandits, with no difference to those bandits who came in 1940 to us from Germany and this will be never forgotten. Hope dies last and Bielenko´s story gives me hope, that Russians are not bandits only.

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