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MiG-29 (fighter)

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The MiG-29 is a Soviet-designed fighter aircraft multirole aircraft, with NATO reporting name FULCRUM, which may have fit into a Soviet "high-low" mix. It was the counterpart to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, while the Su-27 (fighter) (NATO reporting name FLANKER) was the F-15 Eagle equivalent. It has two engines.

Subjected to detailed examination by the Luftwaffe after German reunification, the MiG-29 is by all accounts a very good aircraft, with one of the first helmet-mounted infrared sights — an especially nasty feature for dogfighting.

Weapons

The aircraft has seven hardpoints for weapons and pod mounts, as well as an internal 30mm autocannon. For air-to-air combat, it can carry:

For attack, four pods of S-5, S-8, S-24 unguided rockets; air bombs weighing up to 3,000kg; and 30mm built-in aircraft gun with 150 rounds of ammunition.

Variants

NATO uses the FULCRUM designation for the MiG-29K, -30 and -33. There are several subvariants of the -29.[1]

The -29K is carrier-capable, and India has ordered 12 new-build aircraft for its new carrier, the INS Vikramaditya (ex-Russian Admiral Gorshkov).

Typically for training is the two-seater Mig-29.

Russian upgrades

Russia is upgrading standard FULCRUMs to MiG-29SMT, both for itself and customers such as Yemen. While it improves range and payload, the most striking changes are in avionics: glass cockpit, digital fly-by-wire, and a new radar, Phazotron Zhuk-ME, which can track 10 targets up to 245 km away. An air refueling probe has been added.

RSK MiG upgrade 12 MiG-29 of the Slovak Air Force, with avionics including Rockwell Collins navigation and communications systems and BAE Systems IFF (Interrogation Friend or Foe) system. Russian companies supplied the glass cockpit with multi-function LCD displays and digital processors.

Non-Russian upgrades

With the breakup of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, several countries need MiG-29s to be interoperable with NATO. Poland has had such modifications both on its own aircraft and those it leased from the former East Germany. The first batch of these upgrades was by EADS (formerly DaimlerChrysler Aerospace) alone, but EADS established an alliance with RSK-MiG for general modernization, and they have contracted for Romanian upgrades.

The Romanian venture goes further, involving EADS, Romania's Aerostar, and Israel's Elbit, with a major rebuild, the MiG-29 Sniper, modernizing and maintaining the engine and aiframe. Perhaps even more potent is a major avionic upgrades with a glass cockpit and Elbit mission computer.

Derivatives

The MiG-30 may be a single-engine version intended to compete, in export, with the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

A technology demonstrator, MiG-27M OVT, using three-dimensional thrust vectoring on its engine, debuted at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2006. The designation for potential customers is the MiG-35.

References