|Max. weight combat load. (kg):|
|11,36 x 17,32 x 4,73|
|Service seiling. (m): || 18'000|
|Range (km): || 700/2'600|
|M./Engine: || 2 DTRDRD-33K, 2 x 11'484 kgs|
|Man./Crew: || 1|
|Missiles: ||2/R-27, 6/R-73/R-60 AA|
|Artillery: || 30 mm DP GSh-301 (150 rounds)|
|Other: ||4 pods for unguided missiles (S-5, S-8, S-24)|
bombs (3000 kg)
|Controls:|| airborn radar N-019|
optical locator and infra-red search optical and track sensor;
helmet mounted target designator for search, detection, lock and tracking of targets
radar for R-27 missiles
During the MAKS '97 Air Show, the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin stayed over half an hour, instead of the scheduled five minutes, in the pavilion of the MIG "MAPO." He was attracted by the latest updated version of the famous MiG-29SMT fighter.
Impressively built President felt comfortable enough in the cockpit of the new aircraft to stay there for ten minutes asking the designers questions. Among other things he paid attention to the data that could be clearly seen on the two color liquid crystal displays despite the bright sunlight. Multifunctional control panels and an ergonomical combination of digital and needle indicators that pilots are accustomed to, make the
cockpit especially comfortable to work in. From modernization to modernization the aircraft's "intellect" has been more and more distinctly revealed in its cockpit.
State-of-the-art avionics do not break down the stereotyped concepts of aircraft control mastered by pilots, but help them cope with the execution of an increased number of tasks by providing them with information in more agreeable way at the appropriate moment.
The President approved the course of activity adopted by the MIG "MAPO" headed by Anatoly Manuev to turn the MiG-29 fighter into a fifth-generation aircraft via step by step updates. Meanwhile, these improvements can be incorporated in earlier produced and currently operational aircraft. The company has built more than 1,300 aircraft. Over 300 of them are still operational abroad. What is most intriguing is that the United States also purchased MiG-29 aircraft. One can treat differently their explanation for purchasing 21 aircraft from Moldova: they claim that there was a danger that the aircraft would be delivered to Iran. In any case, this speaks volumes about the respect for the MiG-29 on the part of our principal competitor. The MiG-29 optimal aerodynamic configuration, developed on the concept of integrated aerodynamics and reliable structural strength, ensured its
long service life. One interesting point is that during aerodynamic tests one of the fighter prototypes was placed entirely into a wind-tunnel - an extremely rare event.
The record of the sequence of updating the MiG-29 revealed that every subsequent modernization opened up new vistas for more sophisticated improvements. Initially it was developed as a light frontline fighter to gain air superiority and it has successfully performed this role.
Naturally, however, its creators did not sit back. The airborne computers were geared with more sophisticated software to mount new missiles and enhance their efficiency and introduce more reliable methods of guidance and radio-correction. They created MiG-29s that incorporated the complete spectrum of improvements achieved at that time. Radical improvements occurred in increased capacity of the internal fuel system and equipment compartments. A more sophisticated control system was installed that was especially effective at large angles of attack. Drop fuel tanks were also installed. Modified software made the radar more resistant to jamming and allowed it to use more effective algorithms for radio signal processing for target detection and lock-on. The RVV-AE medium-range missiles with active radar homing heads were also put into operation at that time. Further modifications made the MiG-29 a fully multirole aircraft. The MiG-29 was fitted with air-to-surface high-precision weapons, including the X-29T TV guided missile and X-31P missile with a radar homing head, KAB-500KR guided bombs, etc. The aircraft was also equipped with the in-flight refueling system specified by the Malaysian customer. The aircraft's wing structure was reinforced to increase combat payload to four tons. At the same time work was underway to improve the RD-33 engine and radically increase its reliability and service life. The adopted version was designated the MiG-29SM.
The latest is the MiG-29SMT version currently undergoing intensive tests. What are the main differences between this version and the MiG-29SM?
First and foremost, its increased operating range. The MiG-29 has been criticized for a short operating range compared with that of heavy fighters. However, the MiG-29 was developed as a frontline fighter never to be beaten in air combat. The aircraft combat capabilities were highly praised during NATO exercises.
Today, two MiG-29s from the GDR arsenal are constantly on combat duty in the German Air Force, although these aircraft are only predecessors of the MiG-29S. The small -size MiG-29 is harder to pinpoint visually or via radar contact than the F-15 fighter. The MiG-29 pilot will see the F-15 first. The F-15 constitutes a very attractive target for the RVV-AE missiles carried by the MiG-29 fighter. Our designers managed to accommodate additional 1,000 liters of internal fuel without increasing the
aircraft dimensions. This additional amount of fuel is sufficient to enable the aircraft to cover another 500 km. In doing so, developers mounted air-intakes from the updated MiG-29M (actually it is a completely new aircraft also known in the press as MiG-33). Unfortunately, it was not put into the series production although it underwent practically all tests. The aircraft was designed to incorporate many units taken from the MiG-29, namely air-intakes and wings. The use of these air-intakes allowed developers to arrange 650 liters of internal fuel in wing leading-edge extensions and an integrated fuel tank arranged in a fuselage fairing to increase fuel capacity to 1,000 liters. Provision is also made for the use of three drop fuel tanks borrowed from three previous updates, which will increase the operating range two-fold. However, this is not the limit. In further updates it is possible to use wings from the MiG-29M to arrange additional fuel and increase the number of suspension points for weapons.
In addition to the new cockpit and most advanced avionics, the MiG-29SMT will be fitted with new
high-precision weapons, primarily the X-31A missile to defeat sea targets that is without equal abroad. The new updated airborne radar allows terrain cartography to increase the guidance efficiency.
A great deal mentioned above became possible thanks to the efforts made by Mikhail Korzhuev, Director General of Aviation Research and Production Complex, and investment support of MAPO Bank, headed at that time by Yevgeny Ananyev (now Director General of the Rosvoorouzhenie State Corporation). The principle of open design architecture followed by developers of the MiG-29 allows them to easily install Western avionics and armament. There are many interesting and promising engineering solutions to this effect.
The MiG-29SMT will continue to be updated, primarily to obtain increased maneuverability. Currently, a thrust-vectoring controlled engine is undergoing tests that will be soon installed on the aircraft. Naturally, all innovations developed by the MiG-29 designers cannot be disclosed due to military and commercial considerations. However, Valery Novikov, Senior Designer, and Mikhail Waldenberg, Designer General of the MIG "MAPO," are sure that the MiG-29 will be among the leading fifth-generation fighters in the first decade of the 21st century.