UAC Boosted By MiG-29SMT Order
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, a UAC subsidiary, comes to the Farnborough 2014 show boosted by a new Russian order for 16 MiG-29SMT single-seat, multirole fighters due for delivery by the end of 2016. Signing the $495 million order, Russia’s deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov said, “This order will make MiG feel more secure and look to the future with greater hopes…and provide a good starting point for setting up production of newer aircraft, such as the MiG-35.”
Talks on acquiring some 40 MiG-35s for the Russian air force are ongoing. If that comes to fruition, a production run of about 100 such aircraft can be envisioned. The MiG-35 is a land-based derivative of the MiG-29K/KUB deck fighter, but equipped with the Phazotron-NIIR Zhuk-MAE active phased array radar replacing the mechanically steered Zhuk-ME.
The MiG-29SMT differs outwardly from the classic MiG-29 in having two fuel tanks attached to the upper fuselage. Special coatings absorbing radio emissions reduce the aircraft’s effective radar cross-section down to less than one square meter. Older dial instruments gave way to a glass cockpit with state-of-the-art navigation and aiming systems enabling use of precision-guided munitions.
India recently chose to upgrade nearly 70 in-service aircraft to the MiG-29UPG standard, which is broadly similar to the SMT. Last year RAC MiG completed work on three Indian aircraft, which involved replacing the older N-019 radar, with its Cassegrain parabolic antenna. This was superceded by the more advanced Zhuk-ME radar with a slotted antenna.
India continues to be MiG’s main export customer. It holds orders for 45 MiG-29K/KUBs. Today, more than half of the contracted aircraft have already been delivered. Several weeks ago, the Indian navy air arm began operating them from the deck of the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.