Paris Air Show

All-modern MiG fighter could pack even more punch

 - June 18, 2007, 11:51 AM

The MiG-29M flying here with its Klimov RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines is a testbed for the technology, which is available as an option on the company’s flagship MiG-35 fighter.

Development of the integrated system controlling both aerodynamic surfaces and deflectable nozzles is complete, according to chief test pilot Pavel Vlasov, but the company is still exploring the startling new capabilities it makes possible. “We will continue our work to extend the jet’s maneuverability,” Vlasov said.

Vladimir Barkovskiy, MiG deputy general director-general designer and director of the MiG engineering center, said here Monday that the company now offers an integrated family of aircraft comprising the MiG-29 and MiG-35. The latter features an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, electro-optical systems based on space technology and fifth-generation avionics. “I’d like to underline that we are the first Russian company to introduce AESA radar and install it on aircraft,” he said.

Meanwhile, MiG continues working to upgrade the 6,000-plus aircraft currently in service in 56 countries. For the MiG-29 it offers three basic packages. The
-29SD is a minimum upgrade for new NATO countries that makes them compliant with NATO and ICAO standards and there are two upgrades to multirole capability–the budget -29SM and the -SMT. The latter features an extensively upgraded cockpit, open-architecture avionics and Zhuk-ME multifunction radar. The SM and SMT upgrades are being carried out on aircraft operated by “a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries.”

Vladimir Vypryazhkin, deputy general director-general designer (sales, marketing and after-sales support) said that maintenance and support are also being upgraded, notably with a move to on-condition maintenance that reduces the cost of operations by at least 40 percent. The maintainability upgrade has been applied to Slovakian and Hungarian aircraft and is being introduced to those operated by Poland.

There are more than 600 MiG-29s and -31s targeted for upgrade in the Commonwealth of Independent States, he added. All told, the company expects to upgrade 1,600 aircraft for 29 countries by 2020, work that it estimates would be worth up to $8 billion. It also aims to deliver up to 300 new aircraft worth $10 to $12 billion to the Russian air force and foreign customers by 2020.

MiG confirmed at Aero India in February that it would be bidding the MiG-35 to meet India’s medium multirole combat aircraft requirement. So what are MiG’s chances in the Russian air force competition? “We are 100 percent confident,” deadpanned Vypryazhkin. “But nobody ever goes into a competition otherwise, so we assume our competitors are just as confident.”

Want to fly the MiG?

MiG is running its own competition here. Drop your suggested name for the Barrel Roll or Chopper maneuvers with your business card at the MiG chalet (B22) and you could be MiG’s guest for a week in Moscow, including a flight aboard the MiG-29.