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Mikoyan MiG-29

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MiG-29
Russian Air Force MiG-29
Type Multirole fighter
Manufacturer Mikoyan
Maiden flight 6 October 1977
Introduced August 1983
Status In service
Primary users Russian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Indian Air Force
Iranian Air Force
Produced 1984-present
Variants Mikoyan MiG-33
Mikoyan MiG-35

The Mikoyan MiG-29 (Template:Lang-ru) is a 4th generation jet fighter aircraft designed for the air superiority role in the Soviet Union. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service in 1983 and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other nations. NATO's reporting name for the MiG-29 is "Fulcrum", which was unofficially used by Soviet pilots in service.[1] It was developed to counter new American fighters such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the F/A-18 Hornet.

Contents

Development

The history of the MiG-29, like that of the larger Sukhoi Su-27, started in 1969 when the Soviet Union learned of the U.S. Air Force’s 'F-X' program, which resulted in the F-15 Eagle. The Soviet leadership soon realized that the new American fighter would represent a serious technological advantage over all existing Soviet fighters. The MiG-21 was agile by the standards of its day, but had deficiencies in range, armament, and growth potential. The MiG-23, developed to match the F-4 Phantom II, was fast and had more space for fuel and equipment, but lacked in maneuverability and dogfighting ability. What was needed was a better-balanced fighter with both good agility and sophisticated systems. In response, the Soviet General Staff issued a requirement for a Perspektivnyy Frontovoy Istrebitel (PFI, roughly "Advanced Frontline Fighter", literally "Perspective Frontline Fighter"). Specifications were extremely ambitious, calling for long range, good short-field performance (including the ability to use austere runways), excellent agility, Mach 2+ speed, and heavy armament. The aerodynamic design for the new aircraft was largely carried out by TsAGI in collaboration with the Sukhoi design bureau.

However, in 1971 the Soviets determined that the PFI aircraft would be too expensive to procure in the quantities needed, and divided the requirement into the TPFI (Tyazhyolyy Perspektivnyy Frontovoy Istrebitel, "Heavy Advanced Tactical Fighter") and the LPFI (Lyogkiy Perspektivnyy Frontovoy Istrebitel, "Lightweight Advanced Tactical Fighter") programs, the latter paralleling the contemporary USAF decision that led to the "Lightweight Fighter" program and the F-16 Fighting Falcon and YF-17 Cobra. The heavy fighter remained with Sukhoi, resulting in the Sukhoi Su-27, while the lightweight fighter went to Mikoyan. Detailed design work on the resultant Product 9, designated MiG-29A, began in 1974, with the first flight taking place on October 6, 1977. The pre-production aircraft was first spotted by United States reconnaissance satellites in November of that year; it was dubbed Ram-L because it was observed at the Zhukovsky flight test center near the town of Ramenskoye. Early Western speculations suggested that the Ram-L was very similar in appearance to the YF-17 Cobra and powered by afterburning Tumansky R-25 turbojets.

Despite program delays caused by the loss of two prototypes in engine-related accidents, the MiG-29B production version entered service in August 1983 at the Kubinka air base. State acceptance trials were completed in 1984, and deliveries began the same year to the Soviet Frontal Aviation. The workload split between TPFI and PFI became more apparent as the MiG-29 filtered into front-line service with the VVS in the mid-1980s. While the heavy, long range Su-27 was tasked with the more exotic and dangerous role of deep air-to-air sweeps of NATO high-value assets, the smaller MiG-29 directly replaced the MiG-23 in the frontal aviation role. The MiG-29 was positioned relatively close to the front lines, tasked with providing local air superiority to advancing Soviet motorized army units. Rugged landing gear and protective intake grates meant the MiG-29 could operate from the damaged or under-prepared airstrips Soviet war planners expected to encounter during a rapid armored advance. The MiG-29 was also tasked with escort duties for local strike and interdiction air packages, protecting vulnerable ground attack aircraft from NATO fighters such as the F-15 and F-16. Frontal aviation MiG-29s would ensure Soviet ground forces could operate under a safe air umbrella, moving forward with the troops as they advanced.

In the West, the new fighter was given the NATO reporting name "Fulcrum-A" because the pre-production MiG-29A, which should have logically received this designation, remained unknown in the West at that time. The MiG-29B was widely exported in downgraded versions known as MiG-29B 9-12A and MiG-29B 9-12B (for Warsaw Pact and non-Warsaw Pact nations, respectively), with less capable avionics and no capability for delivering nuclear weapons. Total production was about 840 aircraft.

Refined versions of the MiG-29 with improved avionics were fielded by the Soviet Union, but Mikoyan's multi-role variants, including a carrier-based version designated MiG-29K, were never produced in large numbers. In the post-Soviet era, MiG-29 development was frustrated by the Mikoyan bureau's apparent lack of political clout compared to rival Sukhoi. Some more advanced versions are still being pursued for export, and updates of existing Russian aircraft are likely. New versions of the plane called MiG-29SMT and MiG-29M1/M2 are being developed. Furthermore, development of a carrier version, the MiG-29K, has been resumed for the Indian Navy's INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov). This version was originally meant for Soviet service onboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, but the bigger Sukhoi Su-33 was preferred instead.

The Soviet Union did not assign official "popular names" to its aircraft, although unofficial nicknames were common. Unusually, some Soviet pilots found the MiG-29s NATO reporting name, "Fulcrum", to be a flattering description of the aircraft's intended purpose, and it is sometimes unofficially called "Fulcrum" in Russian service.[1]

Operational history

File:MiG-29 wreck.jpg
Iraqi MiG-29 destroyed during Operation Desert Storm
File:Mig29 36.jpg
Russian Air Force MiG-29s flying over Armenia's border with Turkey

The MiG-29 was first publicly seen in the West during a visit to Finland in July 1986. Two were displayed at the Farnborough Air Show in Britain in September 1988. The following year, the aircraft conducted flying displays at the 1989 Paris Air Show where it was involved in a non-fatal crash during the first weekend of the show.[2] The Paris Air Show display was only the second display of Soviet fighters at an international air show since the 1930s. Western observers were impressed by its apparent capability and exceptional agility.

MiG-29s saw combat in the Gulf War at the hands of Iraqi pilots. According to the USAF, five MiG-29s were shot down.[3] Inadequate pilot training skills, air-defense infrastructure, and poor maintenance, rather than the quality of the aircraft, may have been responsible for this lack of success. Eight MiG-29 pilots fled to Iran where they now serve in the Iranian Air Force.

A Cuban MiG-29UB shot down two civilian Cessna 337s belonging to the organization Brothers to the Rescue in 1996, after the planes approached Cuban airspace.[4]

In Syrian service, the MiG-29s have provided round-the-clock air defense and patrol over Syria and Lebanon. Syrian pilots have praised the aircraft's agility and weapon systems.

Indian MiG-29s saw action during the Kargil War in Kashmir. They provided fighter escort for Mirage 2000s dropping laser-guided bombs on enemy targets and played a major role in maintaining the air superiority. The Indian MiG-29s are known as Baaz (Eagle in Hindi). The Indian Air Force has modified and successfully tested their MiG-29s to fire the advanced R-77 Adder BVR missile. It is believed that all the MiG-29s in the Indian inventory are upgraded to use the Adder as standard armament. They are also being worked upon to be compatible with the Indian Astra BVR missile that is being developed. It is reported that Indian MiG-29s were even before the Kargil conflict equipped with self-defense equipment like chaff and flares and also ECM/ECCM pods. Hence when the MiG-29s were giving top cover to the Mirage 2000s strafing Pakistani positions in Kargil and other heights, it is known that they carried BVRAAM missiles like the AA-10 and AA-12 which prevented PAF F-16s from coming even 40 kilometers close to the Line of Control (LoC). The Indian Air Force currently employs the fourth-largest fleet of MiG-29s. Also during the Kargil war a pair of MiG-29s from the 47th (black archers) squadron claimed to have shot down two marauding PAF F-16s over the Dras sector where they were performing CAPs covering the Mirage -2000s that were bombing Pakistani Army positions.

MiG-29 in Yugoslav and Serbian service

File:MiG-29 YU.jpg
Two Yugoslav MiG-29 aircraft (No.18102 and 18109) at Batajnica AB, shortly after deliverey in 1987.
File:Mig92yu109.jpg
MiG-29 No.18109.

The SFR Yugoslav Air Force purchased a total of 14 MiG-29s and two MiG-29UBs from the USSR, in 1987. MiG-29s were taken into service with the 127. Lovacka Avijacijska Eskadrila (127. LAE, Fighter Aviation Squadron), known as Vitezovi (Knights), part of the 204. Lovacki Avijacijski Puk (204. LAP, Fighter Aviation Regiment) based at Batajnica Air Base, west of Belgrade, in what is today the Republic of Serbia. The aircraft was designated L-18 (Lovac, fighter), or NL-18 ('Nastavni Lovac, trainer fighter) for the "UB" version.

Serial numbers of MiG-29 fighters in YuAF:

  • MiG-29: 18101-18114
  • MiG-29UB: 18301-18302

The MiGs continued their service in the subsequent FRY Air Force. During the long arms embargo placed upon the country, the condition of the MiGs worsened. When operation Allied Force started, Yugoslav MiGs were 15 years old and deprived of spare parts. The first two destroyed MiG-29 were No.18112 (Maj. Iljo Azrinov, downed near Priština) and No.18111 (Maj. Nebojša Nikolić, near Titel), on April 24. They flew out of Slatina Air Base. MiG-29 No.18106 flown by Maj. Predrag Milutinović was downed near Kruševac on same day. On April 26 MiGs 29 No.18114 flown by Maj. Slobodan Perić and No.18113 flown by Capt. 1st Class Zoran Radoslavljević took-off from Batajnica Air Base to intercept a high-flying NATO aircraft – probably a Mirage IV on a reconnaissance mission over north-western Serbia. Perić was shot down near Bjeljina, and he ejected safely, but Radoslavljević, shot down near Valjevo was killed. The MiG-29 No.18109 flown by Maj. Slobodan Tešanović crashed near Užice-Ponikve Airport in a noncombat flight on May 4. Other aircraft (No.18103, 18104, 18107, 18302) were destroyed by NATO during the strikes on the ground.

The unit continued flying its remaining five MiG-29s (at a very low rate) after the war as well, even if it had to replace the losses by MiG-21s evacuated from Pristina after the war. In spring of 2004, however, news appeared that what is now the Serbia and Montenegro Air Force ceased MiG-29 operations, because the aircraft could not be maintained.

MiG-29s will continue their service in Serbian Air Force, in 101.LAE (ex-127.LAE together with ex-126.LAE), part of 204th Air Base when they came back from overhaul in Russia. First two MiGs will get back in December 2007, second two in beginning of 2008 and last one in summer of 2008.[5]

MiG-29 in German service

The German Democratic Republic bought 24 MiG-29s (20 MiG-29As, 4 MiG-29UBs), which entered service in 1988–1989. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and reunification of Germany in October 1990, the MiG-29s and other planes of the Luftstreitkräfte der NVA were integrated into the Luftwaffe. After upgrades by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (now EADS) for NATO compatibility, they were designated MiG-29G and MiG-29GT. In March 1991, one of the MiG-29s in German service was transferred to the USAF for evaluation, along with several Su-22s and MiG-23s.

The Federation of American Scientists claims the MiG-29 is superior to the F-15 and other US fighters in short aerial engagements because of the Helmet Mounted Weapons Sight (HMS) and better maneuverability.[6] This has been proven when MiG-29s of the German Luftwaffe participated in joint DACT exercises with US fighters.[7][8] German pilots constantly won close-in dogfights. The HMS was a great part of the success, allowing the Germans to achieve a lock on any target the pilot could see within the missile field of view, including those almost 45 degrees off boresight.[9] In contrast, the U.S. aircraft were only able to lock onto targets in a narrow window directly in front of the aircraft's nose. It was not until late 2003 that the USAF and US Navy achieved Initial Operational Capability of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System.

Since 1993 the German MiGs were stationed with 1./JG73 "Steinhoff" in Laage near Rostock. During the service in the Luftwaffe one MiG-29 ("29+09") was destroyed during an accident on 25 June 1996 due to pilot error. By 2003, Luftwaffe pilots had flown over 30,000 hours in the MiG-29. In September 2003, 22 of the 23 remaining machines were sold to the Polish Air Force for the symbolic price of €1 per plane.[10] The last planes were transferred in August 2004.[1]

The 23rd MiG-29 ("29+03") remained on display in Laage before being moved to the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr in Berlin's Gatow Airport in 2006.[2]

MiG-29 in Polish service

File:MiG-29A 4103 Krzesiny RB5.JPG
MiG-29A #4103 of 41st Tactical Squadron in 31st Air Base

After the retirement of their MiG-21s and -23s in 2003, Poland was left for a time with only 22 MiG-29s from 1st TFS in the interceptor role. The arrival of the 23 ex-Luftwaffe MiG-29s (operational from 2005 in 41st TFS, replacing MiG-21s) brought the number of Polish fighters of this type to a total of 45 (8 of them are trainer versions). From 2007, MiGs are supported by Block 52+ F-16s from 3rd TFS (replacing MiG-21) and 6th TFS (replacing Su-22), from 2008 F-16s will used also in 10th TFS (for MiG-21). Hence Poland is the biggest NATO MiG-29 user (only 32 are in active use at present). Polish MiG-29s are currently stationed in the 1st Tactical Squadron (1. elt) at the 23rd Air Base near Mińsk Mazowiecki and the 41st Tactical Squadron (41. elt) at the 22nd Air Base near Malbork. The Poles had also previously leased a MiG-29 from their own inventory to Israel for evaluation and the aircraft has since been returned to Poland.[citation needed]

MiG-29s in the United States

File:MiG-29 and F-16.jpg
Luftwaffe MiG-29 in company with a USAF F-16.

In 1997, the United States purchased 21 Moldovan aircraft for evaluation and analysis, under the Cooperative Threat Reduction accord. Fourteen were MiG-29Ss, which is equipped with an active radar jammer in its spine and is capable of being armed with nuclear weapons. Part of the United States motive to purchase these aircraft was to prevent them from being sold to "rogue states", especially Iran.[3] In late 1997, the MiGs were delivered to the National Air Intelligence Center (NAIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. One former Moldovan MiG-29S is currently on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson, and one MiG-29UB is on display at the NAIC headquarters of the base. Many of the former Moldovan MiG-29s are believed to have been scrapped. One MiG-29 is on display at Nellis AFB, Nevada, in Soviet colors, while another of the former Moldavian aircraft is located on the base in its original camouflage. At NAS Fallon, one MiG-29 is on display. Another is on display at MacDill AFB, minus its canopy, while a third is at Goodfellow AFB, Texas.

A private collector, Don Kirlin, has two MiG-29s that he purchased from Kyrgyzstan. They are supposedly lacking the avionics package, due to State Department restrictions, and so a Western avionics system would need to be sourced. They are currently located at the Quincy Regional Airport in Quincy, Illinois. According to airport workers, Kirlin paid US$100,000 for both planes. The planes are currently not flight-worthy and need a complete refurbishment.[11]

Description

Design features

File:MiG-29 Slovakia.jpg
The MiG-29's wings blend smoothly into the fuselage

Because it was developed from the same basic parameters laid out by TsAGI for the original PFI, the MiG-29 is aerodynamically broadly similar to the Sukhoi Su-27, but with some notable differences. It is built largely out of aluminium with some composite materials. It has a mid-mounted swept wing with blended leading-edge root extensions (LERXs) swept at around 40°. There are swept tailplanes and two vertical fins, mounted on booms outboard of the engines. Automatic slats are mounted on the leading edges of the wings; they are four-segment on early models and five-segment on some later variants. On the trailing edge, there are maneuvering flaps and wingtip ailerons.

The MiG-29 has hydraulic controls and a SAU-451 three-axis autopilot but, unlike the Su-27, no fly-by-wire control system. Nonetheless, it is very agile, with excellent instantaneous and sustained turn performance, high alpha capability, and a general resistance to spins. The airframe is stressed for 9-g (88 m/s²) maneuvers. The controls have "soft" limiters to prevent the pilot from exceeding the g and alpha limits, but these can be disabled manually. In joint USAF-Luftwaffe exercises, the MiG-29 that the Luftwaffe fielded defeated the F-16 in close combat almost every time using its highly practical IRST sensor and helmet-mounted sight, together with the Vympel R-73 (NATO: AA-11 'Archer') missile.

Powerplant

Main article: Klimov RD-33
File:MiG-29 engines.jpg
Slovak MiG-29 on afterburner

The MiG-29 has two widely spaced Klimov RD-33 turbofan engines, each rated at 50.0 kN (11,240 lb) dry and 81.3 kN (18,277 lb) in afterburner. The space between the engines generates lift, thereby reducing effective wing loading, to improve maneuverability. The engines are fed through wedge-type intakes fitted under the LERXs, which have variable ramps to allow high-Mach speeds. As an adaptation to rough-field operations, they can be closed completely for takeoff, landing, and low-speed flying, thereby preventing ingestion of ground debris (FOD, foreign object damage). In those cases, the engines receive air through louvers on the LERXs which open automatically when intakes are closed. Later variants replace these dorsal louvers with mesh screens in the main intakes, similar to those fitted to the Su-27.[12]

Range and fuel system

File:MiG-29 refuelling.jpg
MiG-29 with drop tanks receiving fuel transferred from an Il-76 tanker.

The internal fuel capacity of the original MiG-29B is only 4,365 liters distributed between six fuel tanks, four in the fuselage and one in each wing. As a result, the aircraft has a very limited range, in line with the original Soviet requirements for a point-defense fighter. For longer flights, this can be supplemented by a 1,500 liter (330 Imp gal, 395 USgal) centerline drop tank and, on later production batches, two 1,150 liter ( 365 Imp gal, 300 USgal) underwing drop tanks. In addition, a small number have been fitted with port-side inflight refueling probes, allowing much longer flight times by using a probe-and-drogue system. Some MiG-29B airframes have been upgraded to the "Fatback" configuration (MiG-29 9-13), which adds a dorsal-mounted internal fuel tank. Advanced variants, such as the MiG-35, can be fitted with a conformal fuel tank on the dorsal spine, although none of them have yet entered service.

Cockpit

The pilot is seated on a Zvezda K-36DM zero-zero ejection seat which has had impressive performance in emergency escapes.

The cockpit has conventional dials, with a head-up display (HUD) and a Shchel-3UM helmet-mounted sight, but no HOTAS ("hands-on-throttle-and-stick") capability. Emphasis seems to have been placed on making the cockpit similar to the earlier MiG-23 and other Soviet aircraft for ease of conversion, rather than on ergonomics. Nonetheless, the MiG-29 does have substantially better visibility than most previous Russian jet fighters, thanks to a high-mounted bubble canopy. Upgraded models introduce "glass cockpits" with modern liquid-crystal (LCD) multi-function displays (MFDs) and true HOTAS.

Sensors

File:MiG-29 radome.jpg
MiG-29 nose showing radome and IRST

The baseline MiG-29B has a Phazotron RLPK-29 (Radiolokatsyonnui Pritselnui Kompleks) radar attack system which includes the N019 (Sapfir 29; NATO: 'Slot Back') look-down/shoot-down coherent pulse-Doppler radar and Ts100.02-02 digital computer. The original N-019A, which was supposed to put the MiG-29 on par with its Western counterparts, was a disappointment to VVS. It had serious shortcomings in beyond-visual-range (BVR) engagements.[citation needed] Tracking range against a fighter-sized target was only about 70 km (38 nm) in the frontal aspect and 35 km (19 nm) in the rear aspect. Range against bomber-sized targets was roughly double. Ten targets could be displayed in search mode, but the radar had to lock onto a single target for semi-active homing (SARH). The signal processor also had trouble with ground clutter, and ranges in the look-down mode were consequently further reduced.[citation needed] It was also quite susceptible to jamming.[citation needed] These problems meant the MiG-29 was not able to reliably utilize the new Vympel R-27R (NATO: AA-10 'Alamo') long-range SARH missile at its maximum ranges.

File:MiG-29 gun.jpg
MiG-29UB on display, showing gunport

These performance deficiencies stemmed largely from the fact the N-019 radar was not, in fact, a new design. Instead, the system was a further development of the architecture already used in Phazotron's Sapfir-23ML system, then in use on the MiG-23ML. During the initial MiG-29 design specification period in the mid-1970's, Phazotron NIIR was tasked with producing a modern radar for the MiG-29. To speed development, Phazotron based its new design on the work undertaken by NPO Istok on the experimental "Soyuz" radar program. Accordingly, the N-019 was originally intended to have a flat planar array antenna and full digital signal processing, giving a detection and tracking range of at least 100km against a fighter-sized target. Given the state of Soviet avionics technology at the time, it was an ambitious goal. Testing and prototypes soon revealed this could not be attained in the required timeframe, at least not in a radar that would fit in the MiG-29's nose. Rather than design a completely new, albeit more modest radar, Phazotron reverted to a version of the twist cassegrain antenna used successfully on the Sapfir-23ML to save time and cost. This system used the same analog signal processors as their earlier designs, coupled with a NII Argon-designed Ts100 digital computer. While this decision provided a working radar system for the new fighter, it inherited all of the weak points of the earlier design. This reliance on 1960s-era technology continues to plague the MiG-29 in terms of its ability to detect and track airborne targets at ranges available with the R-27 and R-77 missiles, although new designs like the digital N-010 Zhuk-M address the serious signal processing shortcomings inherent in the analog design. Still, most MiG-29 aircraft in service continue to use the analog N-019 or N-019M radar, although VVS has indicated its desire to upgrade all existing MiG-29s to a fully digital system.

The N-019 was further compromised by Phazotron designer Adolf Tolkachev's betrayal of the radar to the CIA, for which he was executed in 1986. In response to all of these problems, the Soviets hastily developed a modified N019M Topaz radar for the upgraded MiG-29S aircraft. However, VVS was reportedly still not satisfied with the performance of the system and demanded another upgrade. The latest upgraded aircraft offer the N-010 Zhuk-M, which has a planar array antenna rather than a dish, improving range, and a much superior processing ability, with multiple target engagement capability and compatibility with the Vympel R-77 (or RVV-AE) (NATO: AA-12 'Adder'). A useful feature the MiG-29 shares with the Su-27 is the S-31E2 KOLS, a combined laser rangefinder and IRST in an 'eyeball' mount forward of the cockpit canopy. This can be slaved to the radar or used independently, and provides exceptional gun-laying accuracy.

Armament

File:Mig-29ukraine arms.JPG
Ukrainian MiG-29 with armaments laid out

Armament for the MiG-29 includes a single GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. This originally had a 150-round magazine, which was reduced to 100 rounds in later variants. Original production MiG-29B aircraft cannot fire the cannon when carrying a centerline fuel tank as it blocks the shell ejection port. This issue was corrected in the MiG-29S and later versions. Three pylons are provided under each wing (four in some variants), for a total of six (or eight). The inboard pylons can carry either a 1,150 liter (300 US gallon) fuel tank, one R-27 (AA-10 'Alamo') medium-range air-to-air missile, or unguided bombs or rockets. Some Soviet aircraft could carry a single nuclear bomb on the port inboard station. The outer pylons usually carry R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') dogfight missiles, although some users still retain the older R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid'). A single 1,500 liter (400 US gallon) tank can be fitted to the centerline, between the engines, for ferry flights, but this position is not used for combat stores. The original MiG-29B can carry general-purpose bombs and unguided rocket pods, but not precision-guided munitions. Upgraded models have provision for laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles.

Variants

File:MiG-29A50RO.jpg
Romanian Air Force MiG-29 "Fulcrum-A". Romanian air force has withdrawn MiG-29 from service.
MiG-29 "Fulcrum-A" (Product 9.12)
Initial production version; entered service in 1983.
MiG-29B-12 "Fulcrum-A" (Product 9.12A)
Downgraded export version for non-Warsaw Pact nations. Lacked a nuclear weapon delivery system and possessed downgraded radar, ECM and IFF.
File:Slovakia army 890.jpg
Slovakian MiG-29UB
MiG-29UB-12 "Fulcrum-B" (Product 9.51)
Twin seat training model. Lacks radar and GSh-30 cannon.
MiG-29S
The MiG-29S (Fulcrum-C) is virtually identical in external appearance to older "Fatback" MiG-29B airframes. Differences start with the improvements in the flight control system. Four new computers provide better stability augmentation and controllability with an increase of 2° in angle of attack (AoA). Its improved mechanical-hydraulic flight control system allows for greater control surface deflections. The MiG-29S added a dorsal 'hump' to the upper fuselage (earning it the nickname "Fatback" in service) which was originally believed to be for additional fuel, but in fact, most of its volume is used for the new L-203BE Gardenyia-1 ECM system. Internal fuel is only slightly increased by 75 liters, making the aircraft's fuel fraction about 0.27, thus comparable to that of the F-16. It can also carry 1150 liter (304 US gallon, 2000 lb) drop tanks under each wing and the traditional centerline tank. Inboard underwing hardpoints are upgraded to allow for a tandem pylon arrangement for a larger payload of 4,000 kg (8,820 lb). Overall maximum gross weight has been raised to 20,000 kg (44,000 lb).
In the MiG-29S, the GSh-30-1 cannon has had its expended round ejector port modified to allow for firing while the centerline tank is still attached. As with the MiG-29, there are six underwing hardpoints, but these can be expanded to eight. The MiG-29S improvement would also allow for new missiles like the R-27E (AA-10 'Alamo') which has 1.5 times the range of the basic model R-27 due to its larger rocket motor. These long-burn variants have previously been only found on the Su-27 Flanker. The new hardpoint configuration also adds the capability to mount the new R-77 (AA-12 'Adder') active-radar long-range air-to-air missile.
Initially, the avionics of the MiG-29S only added a new IRST sighting system combined with a better imbedded training system that allowed for IR and radar target simulation. However, the final MiG-29S improvement kit also provides for the Phazotron N-019M radar and more built-in test equipment (BITE) (especially for the radar) to reduce dependence on ground support equipment; MiG MAPO calls this model the MiG-29SD. Revised weapon system algorithms in the MiG-29S's software, combined with an increase in processing capacity, allows for the tracking of up to ten targets and the simultaneous engagement of two with the R-77 missile.
The MiG-29S also has a limited ground-attack capability with unguided munitions, but in order to transform the MiG-29 into a true multi-role fighter, MAPO designed the MiG-29SM variant with the improved avionics necessary to carry and employ precision-guided weapons. The 'SE/SD/SM' improvements in the MiG-29S, combined with the development money made available for the naval MiG-29K, gave MAPO the incentive to forge ahead with the multirole MiG-29M (aka MiG-33) "Super Fulcrum".
Flight performance of the MiG-29S is but slightly reduced compared to the original MiG-29 due to the weight of the additional fuel and avionics. Only 48 MiG-29S airframes were produced for the Russian VVS before funding was cut. Of this number, it is unknown how many are the standard air-superiority 'S' version and how many are the multi-role 'SM' version.
MiG-29S-13 "Fulcrum-C" (Product 9.13)
MiG-29 variant similar to the 9.12, but with an enlarged fuselage spine containing additional fuel and a Gardeniya active jammer.
MiG-29S-13 "Fulcrum-C" (Product 9.13S)
Version with the same airframe as the 9.13, but with an increased external weapons load of 4,000 kg, and provision for two underwing fuel tanks. Radar upgraded to N019ME, providing an ability to track 10 targets and engage 2 simultaneously. Compatible with the Vympel R-77 (AA-12 'Adder') air-to-air missile (similar to the AIM-120 AMRAAM).
MiG-29SM "Fulcrum-C" (Product 9.13M)
Similar to the 9.13, but with the ability to carry guided air-to-surface missiles and TV- and laser-guided bombs.
MiG-29K "Fulcrum-D" (Product 9.31)
Naval variant, the latter "K" stands for "Korabelnogo bazirovaniya" (Deck-based ), with equipment such as folding wings, arrestor gear, and reinforced landing gear. Originally intended for the Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers, had even received series production approval from Russian Ministry of Defence but was later grounded in 1992 due to shift in military doctrine and state financial difficulty.[13] MiG Corporation restarted the program in 1999 and made vital improvement to the previous design. On January 20, 2004, Indian Navy signed a contract of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and 4 two-seat MiG-29KUB set delivery in the period from 2007 to 2009.[14][15] Modification was made for Indian Navy requirement featured Zhuk-ME radar, RD-33MK engine, combat payload up to 5,500 kg, 13 hardpoints (inclusive of the multi-lock bomb carriers), additional fuel tanks situated in dorsal spine fairing and wing LERXs, increased total fuel capacity by 50% comparing to first variant of MiG-29 and updated 4-channel digital fly-by-wire flight control system. With special coatings MiG-29K radar reflecting surface is 4-5 times smaller than of basic MiG-29. Cockpit displays consist of wide HUD and 3 (7 on MiG-29KUB) colour LCD MFDs and French Sigma-95 satellite GPS module and Topsight E helmet-mounted targeting system. Compatible with the full range of weapons carried by the MiG-29M and MiG-29SMT.[16]
MiG-29KUB "Fulcrum-D" (Product 9.47)
Identical characteristic to the MiG-29K but with tandem twin seat configuration. The design is to serve as trainer for MiG-29K pilot and is full combat capable. The first MiG-29KUB developed for the Indian Navy made its maiden flight at the Russian Zhukovsky aircraft test centre on January 22, 2007.[17]
MiG-29M / MiG-33 "Fulcrum-E" (Product 9.15)
Main article: Mikoyan MiG-33
Advanced multi-role variant, with a redesigned airframe, mechanical flight controls replaced by a fly-by-wire system and powered by enhanced RD-33 ser.3M engines
MiG-29UBM (Product 9.61)
Two-seat training variant of the MiG-29M. Never built.
MiG-29SMT (Product 9.17)
An upgrade package of the first-generation MiG-29s (9.12 to 9.13) containing many enhancements intended for the MiG-29M. Additional fuel tanks in a further enlarged spine provide a maximum flight range of 2,100 km (on internal fuel). Cockpit enhanced HOTAS design, two 152 × 203 mm (6 × 8 inch) colour liquid-crystal MFDs and two smaller monochrome liquid-crystal displays (LCD). Upgraded Zhuk-ME radar provides similar feature to the MiG-29M. Power plant upgraded the RD-33 ser.3 engines, after burn thrust rated same at 8,300 kgf (81.4 kN) each. Weapons load increased to 4,500 kg on six underwing and one ventral hardpoints, with similar weapon choices as for the MiG-29M variant. The upgraded aircraft has also painted path for non-Russian origin avionics and weapon.[18] This version is currently serving the air forces of Russia, Yemen, Algeria, Syria, and Iran[citation needed].
MiG-29UBT (Product 9.51T)
SMT Standard upgrade for the MiG-29UB. Namely users, Algeria and Yeman.[19][20]
MiG-29M2 / MiG-29MRCA
Two-seat version of MiG-29M (possibly based on the cancelled MiG-29UBM).[citation needed] Identical characteristics to MiG-29M, with a slightly lesser operational range of 1800km. RAC MiG presented in various air shows, to name a few, Fifth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (CIAAE 2004),[21] AERO INDIA 2005,[22][23] MAKS 2005.[24]. It was once given designation MiG-29MRCA for marketing purpose and now evolved into the current MiG-35.
File:Mig29M-OVT.jpg
MiG-29OVT on display
MiG-29OVT
Some sources suggest NATO code name "Fulcrum-F". The aircraft is one of the six pre-built MiG-29M before 1991, later received thrust-vectoring engine and fly-by-wire technology. It served as a thrust-vectoring engine testbed and technology demonstrator in various air shows to show future improvement in the MiG-29M. It has identical avionics to the MiG-29M. The only difference in the cockpit layout is an additional switch to turn on vector thrust function. The two RD-133 thrust-vectoring engines, each features unique rotating nozzles which can provide thrust vector deflection in all directions. However, despite its thrust-vectoring, other specifications were not officially emphasized. The aircraft is being demonstrated along with the MiG-29M2 in various air shows around the world for potential export. The aircraft is usually used as an aerobatic demonstrator.[25]
MiG-35 "Fulcrum-F"
Main article: Mikoyan MiG-35
A recently unveiled mass upgraded MiG-29M2.
MiG-29G/MiG-29GT
It was a upgrade standard for the German Luftwaffe's MiG-29/-29UB, inherited from the former East Germany to the NATO standards. Works was done by MiG Aircraft Product Support GmbH (MAPS), a joint venture company form between MiG Moscow Aviation Production Association and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace in 1993.[26]
MiG-29AS/MiG-29UBS
MiG-29/29UB planes upgraded in Slovakia by RSK MiG and Western firms, starting from 2005, for NATO compatibility.
MiG-29 Sniper
attempt of upgrade Romanian Air Force MiG-29s, by Israeli firms. The program was halted along with the retiring of Romanian MiG-29s in 2003. The latter occurred because of high maintenance costs, which led to the Romanian Government's decision to halt the MiG-29 program and further invest in the MiG-21 LanceR program.

Operators

Template:Unreferencedsection

File:Mig-29 operators.PNG
Operators of the MiG-29 in dark blue (former operators in light blue)
File:Cuban mig29.jpg
Cuban MiG-29UB

Current operators

Former operators

  • Template:CZS: 18 MiG-29A, 2 MiG-29UB, from 1989. Passed on to Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • Template:CZE: 9 MiG-29A, 1 MiG-29UB. No longer in service. Exchanged with Poland for 11 PZL W-3 Sokół helicopters in 1996.
  • Template:DDR: 24 delivered in 1988-1989, including 4 MiG-29UBs. Passed on to Germany in 1990.
  • Template:GER: inherited 24 from East Germany in 1990. Upgraded to NATO compatibility. One was lost, and one was kept for display when the remaining 22 were transferred to Poland in 2003.
  • Template:IRQ: 41 delivered, some destroyed in Gulf War, 21 fled to Iran. No longer in service.
  • Template:MDA: 34 inherited from USSR, 6 sold to Yemen, 21 bought by USA, 1 MiG-29S to Romania, 6 MiG-29S overhauled recently in Ukraine.
  • Template:ROM: 20 MiG-29A delivered from USSR starting in 1989 plus 1 MiG-29S from Moldova. 18 in storage after funding was cut for upgrade programme.[27]
  • Template:USSR: Passed on to successor states.
  • Template:YUG/Template:FR-YUG: 14 MiG-29B, 2 MiG-29UB, but during the Kosovo war, 5 MiG-29B destroyed in air combat and 4 MiG-29B and one MiG-29UB destroyed on ground. 4 MiG-29B and 1 MiG-29UB passed to Serbia.

Units

Template:Unreferencedsection

Unit Base Version Status Notes
Algerian Air Force
113e Escadron de Chasse Tindouf MiG-29S (9.13S) Active upgraded to MiG-29SMT standard
143e Escadron de Chasse Ouargla MiG-29S (9.13S)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active upgraded to MiG-29SMT standard
153e Escadron de Chasse Béchar-Oukda/
Leger
MiG-29S (9.13S) Active upgraded to MiG-29SMT standard
193e Escadron de Chasse Bou Sfer MiG-29S (9.13S)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active upgraded to MiG-29SMT standard
Bulgarian Air Force
2/3 Iztrebitelna Avio Eskadrila Graf Ignatievo MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
Bangladesh Air Force
8th Squadron Bashar MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
Hungarian Air Force
59th Wing, Dongó Squadron Kecskemét MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
German Air Force
JG73 "Steinhoff" Laage MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active Transition to Eurofighter 2000, aircrafts received
NATO/ICAO upgrades (local designation MiG-29G).
Hungarian Air Force
2. Vadászrepülö Század Kecskemét MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
Iranian Air Force
11 TFS Tehran
Mehrabad Int'l
MiG-29 (9.12B)
MiG-29 (9.13)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
23 TFS Tabriz MiG-29 (9.12B)
MiG-29 (9.13)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
Malaysian Air Force
19 Skn Cobra Kuantan-Sultan
Ahmed Shah
MiG-29S (9.13S)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active (local designation MiG-29N).
Korean People's Air Force
57th Air Regiment Onchon-up Active
Peruvian Air Force
Escuadrón Caza-bombardeo 612 Chiclayo MiG-29S (9.13S)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
Polish Air Force
1. Pułk Lotnictwa Myśliwskiego Mińsk Mazowiecki MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Reorganized 1989-2000, aircraft received NATO/ICAO upgrades:
- NATO compatible radios and IFF systems
- TACAN, VOR/ILS and GPS navigacion systems
1. eskadra lotnictwa taktycznego Mińsk Mazowiecki MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active 2001-now, aircraft received NATO/ICAO upgrades,
planed further upgrade to MiG-29SE standard
41. eskadra lotnictwa taktycznego Malbork MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active 2005-now, aircraft received NATO/ICAO upgrades
Serbian Air Force and Air Defense
101. lovačka aviacijska eskadrila,
204th Air Base
Batajnica Airbase MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Currently at overhaul 2006-now, aircrafts currently at overhaul, will be in active service at 2008
Slovak Air Force
1 Stíhacia Letka Sliac MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active 1993-now, aircrafts upgraded to MiG-29SE standard
(local designation MiG-29AS) and received NATO/ICAO upgrades
Syrian Air Force
697 Squadron Saiqal MiG-29 (9.12B)
MiG-29 (9.13)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
698 Squadron Saiqal MiG-29 (9.12B)
MiG-29 (9.13)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
699 Squadron Saiqal MiG-29 (9.12B)
MiG-29 (9.13)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Active
SFR Yugoslav Air Force/FR Yugoslav Air Force
127.LAE, 204.LAP Batajnica Airbase MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Disabled 1986-1991
127. LAE "Vitezovi", 204.LAP Batajnica Airbase MiG-29 (9.12A)
MiG-29UB (9.51)
Disabled 1991-2006, during the Kosovo war 5 were shot down
and 6 destroyed on ground by NATO.
Last two passed to Serbian Air Force

MiG-29s on display

There are several museums in Russia that display MiG-29s:

One MiG-29 is on display in Germany. The only remaining German MiG-29G (29+03) was transferred from Laage to the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr in Berlin's Gatow Airport, being part of the exhibition "50 Jahre Luftwaffe".[6]

67 (MiG-29 Sniper proto) is on display at the Romania Muzeul Aviatiei, Bucharest.

Six former Moldova Air Force MiG-29s are currently on display in the United States at the following locations:

Specifications

Template:Aircraft specification

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Zuyev, A.; McConnell, M.. Fulcrum: A Top Gun Pilot's Escape From the Soviet Empire. Warner Books, 1993. ISBN 0-446-36498-3.
  2. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/788wbhgw.asp
  3. USA Air Force Milestones, 1999-12-31.
  4. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/cases/86-99.html
  5. ACIG 380.
  6. FAS MiG-29
  7. Buzzards, AeroWeb.
  8. Code One, 1995-07.
  9. Lake, John. Jane's How to Fly and Fight in the Mikoyan MiG-29 (HarperCollins, 1997 ISBN 0-00472144-6), p.70.
  10. MiGi za 1 euro w Bydgoszczy Template:Icon pl.
  11. Hoffman, Carl "Building Your Own Air Force, One Mig at a Time " Wired Magazine Issue 13.10 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.10/kirlin_pr.html
  12. Lake, p.94.
  13. http://www.migavia.ru/eng/production/?tid=1&id=4
  14. http://www.migavia.ru/eng/news/?id=19&tid=4
  15. http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/2077.asp
  16. http://www.migavia.ru/eng/news/?id=18&tid=4&page=1
  17. http://en.rian.ru/photolents/20070123/59541189.html
  18. http://www.migavia.ru/eng/production/?tid=1&id=3
  19. http://www.cast.ru/eng/?id=274
  20. http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/1-2005/ff/largest_identified/
  21. http://english.people.com.cn/200410/27/eng20041027_161780.html
  22. http://www.migavia.ru/eng/news/?id=19&tid=4
  23. http://www.acig.org/exclusives/aero/acig_aero05_mrca.htm
  24. http://www.richard-seaman.com/Aircraft/AirShows/Maks2005/Highlights/
  25. http://www.aviapedia.com/fighters/mig-29vft-video-smotr
  26. http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/3-2007/ic/article2/
  27. Romania retires its MiG-29 fleet Adevărul, January 2003.

External links

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