Trump Campaign Asks People to 'Support Our Troops' in Ad with Photo of Russian Jets
The photo used in the campaign ad, which ran earlier this month, is available on Shutterstock
The ad, created by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, ran over several days last week. It featured the silhouettes of a group of soldiers with aircraft flying overheard.
Pierre Sprey, who helped design F-16 and A-10 planes for the Air Force, identified the jets as Russian MiG-29s to Politico by noticing the angle of the aircraft’s tail and the spacing of the engines.
"That’s definitely a MiG-29. I’m glad to see it’s supporting our troops," Sprey said.
Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, confirmed to Politico that the soldier on the right of the campaign ad image is holding a Russian AK-74 assault rifle.
As noted by Politico, the image used in the ad is available on Shutterstock and is labeled, "Military silhouettes of soldiers and airforce against the backdrop of sunset sky."
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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According to Politico, Russian MiG-29s, twin-engine jet fighter aircrafts, were developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War to combat American F-15s and F-16s. They first flew in 1977.
During the war, the U.S. managed to obtain a few MiG-29s. They were also exported by Russia to other countries such as North Korea, India and Syria, Politico reported.
The Trump campaign has a history of headline-grabbing posts online, in keeping with the candidate himself. Sometimes that boomerangs, as when the campaign compared Trump to Marvel supervillain Thanos or described their operation like the "Death Star" from Star Wars.
The president's ties to Russia have also long drawn scrutiny — most famously in the multiple connections between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election — though he has defended his relationship with Vladimir Putin as in the best interest of American national security.