FARMINGTON — Passersby at the St. Francois County Jail have had to look twice lately as a Soviet Mig-17 fighter jet has been sitting in the parking lot.
When St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock was asked about the aircraft, the sheriff jokingly said it is part of the new St. Francois County Air Force.
“We have had several people call and ask about the Mig-17,” Bullock said.
The plane was actually seized to settle a debt in a civil matter, the sheriff explained.
Bullock said his department seized the plane on Feb. 14 at the Farmington Airport under court order.
“As of right now we are still in the seizure mode,” Bullock said. “We are not sure how long we are going to have it in our custody.”
The plane will not be sold until a court order is made to do so, Bullock said. The method of sales was not known at press time.
The wings were taken off of the aircraft as it is sitting on top of a trailer. It no longer has any of its military armaments, but the jet is otherwise fully functional.
The Soviet Mig-17 was first introduced in 1951. It has seen combat throughout the world and has been used by more than 40 countries. During Vietnam, North Vietnamese pilots flew the versatile aircraft against American pilots.
The MiG-17 is known for its excellent maneuverability and a heavy cannon armament. The fighter jet also saw extensive action in the Arab-Israeli Wars and in a wide variety of other Third World conflicts.