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ABOARD USS BOXER - While taking part in the at-sea phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training (CARAT) Malaysia July 12, operations specialists aboard Boxer received a rare opportunity to control aircraft that most Sailors in their rating won't even come across in their careers.

MiG-29s, with a wingspan of more than 37 feet and a maximum payload of 6,614 pounds, was introduced by the USSR in 1977 and is known as one of the fastest and most dangerous aircraft in the world. In this regard, the MiG-29 is similar to the U.S. F/A 18 Hornet.

"The MiG-29 is one of the nastiest aircraft out there," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Michael Kudebeh. "It has very similar capabilities of our best aircraft."

The Malaysian MiG-29s were used as the "good guys' in a joint exercise between the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Boxer. The MiG-29s were flown against British-built, Malaysian-flown, Hawk 208s in simulated combat. The event was one of the many facets of CARAT.

"This was a once in a lifetime event," added Operations Specialist 2nd Class Sabrina Peterson.

CARAT, an annual series of bilateral military exercises between the United States and various Southeast Asia countries, is designed to build proficiency in all militaries involved through interaction and relations. CARAT Malaysia involves more than 1,600 U.S. Sailors and Malaysian service men.

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