Indian navy pilots and support crew have started training on the MiG-29K/KUB fighters with RAC MiG in Russia. The first of the aircraft ordered by India are due to enter service this autumn and the air crew have already flown serial-produced models.
The single-seat -29K model and the twin-seat -29KUB both are being produced by RAC MiG. Both aircraft are “fourth-generation” multifunction fighters with significant upgrades from the original MiG-29.
New RAC MiG boss Mikhail Pogosyan is looking to step up MiG-29K/KUB production this year and also to accelerate development of the new MiG-35 combat jet. Having taken over the reins of the company earlier this year, Pogosyan has continued in his powerful dual roles as director general of the Sukhoi design bureau and first deputy CEO of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). His declared aim is to form a new combat aviation group under the mantle of UAC.
RAC MiG is working to develop the MiG-29K/KUB family with technological advances derived from the MiG-35/35D models. The two fighters feature 90 percent commonality in terms of airframe and systems, but the -35 offers significantly more sophisticated avionics and weaponry.
For instance, the MiG-35 is equipped with active phased-array antenna radar and new multichannel electro-optical systems to engage both aerial and ground targets. The aircraft also boasts a new-generation self-defense suite including both radio and electro-optical functions.
The jet’s armaments consist of Kh-59MK2 air-to-ground missiles, carrying a 661-pound warhead on a range of up to 154 nm. The weapon is able to identify the terrain around the target and destroy objects that offer no radar, infrared or optical contrast. It is also available as an anti-ship version designated the -59MK.
Also part of the MiG-35 firepower is a new family of Kh-38 air-to-ground missiles. Their range of 22 nm greatly increases the fighter’s reach over the battlefield.
The Kh-38 is built on a modular design that allows for a choice of self-guided warheads– such as laser, infrared, satellite and active radar–to meet different mission requirements. The relatively light, 1,146-pound missile can incorporate a powerful warhead of up to 551 pounds as a single unit or as several submunitions. The fighter’s combat capabilities for engaging aerial targets are being enhanced with new RVV-SD medium-range and RVV-MD short-range air-to-air missiles.
Russia has entered the MiG-35 in the ongoing Indian air force contest for its new fighter. It is also lined up as a MiG-29 replacement for the Russian