In 1970 military Russian presence in Egypt was posed to trigger a proxy war and a Global conflict. Western pilots’ proficiency and technological superiority made Russian air force pilots and missile crews back off from the middle east leaving only advisors in Egypt. In a dog fight showdown, Five MiG 21 fighter jets with Soviet pilots were knocked down after being lured to the Sinai.
Russian crews were embedded in the Egyptian army and conducted raids on a continuous basis as a show of force on behalf of Egyptians. Egyptians were bombarding Israeli positions in Sinai while sending military and paramilitary terrorists to harm civilian population from the Gaza area and disrupting the shipping lifeline of the red sea.
The Soviets wanted also to probe Western technology and intelligence. The soviet union was sure that their air-force is superior when compered with every air force in the middle east. The idea was to probe for another front while the U.S.A. was struggling with the Iron Curtain and had to deal with military conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and Cuba.
Soviets were intercepting Israeli flights and even damaged an Israeli A-4 Skyhawk with an air-to-air missile on July 25. The IAF devised a plan named “Rimon 20”. Four Mirages were to fly in a pattern of a high-altitude reconnaissance mission over the area nicknamed “Texas” in
Sinai. Each pair of armed Mirages flew close to each other to simulate on the radar a typical recon mission by two supposedly unarmed maneuverable Mirages. Meanwhile, several Phantoms and Mirages would be flying at low altitude, hidden from the screens and waiting to strike if the Soviets chased the “recon” Mirages to the east.
It was July 30, and the Soviets flew from multiple airfields in Egypt, twenty-four MiG-21s were scrambled to intercept the “routine” IAF recon flight. Their easy prey turned into a mix of sixteen Phantoms and Mirage jets that were hidden with electronic scrambling and low altitude flight . A command and control plane was doing the coordination and electronics jamming in the background. Within three minutes, five MiGs had been shot down by a mix of French and American made jets.
The Russians had decided that the Sinai theater of operations doesn’t worth the risk anymore and were afraid embedded pilots would be questioned by western intelligence if more MiGs would have been shot. There is some reasoning to the premise that Americans and NATO warned the Soviets and asked them to remove their personnel from fighting positions in order to avoid a bigger proxy confrontation.