Russian air force commander Gen Alexander Zelin told Russian media that a new air-to-air missile will be accepted into service shortly and “double the combat capability” of the MiG-31 interceptor. A Russian air force spokesman added that the service plans to modernize 60 aircraft to the MiG-31BM standard by 2020. The upgrade includes a new radar (believed to be the Zaslon-M capable of detecting up to 10 targets simultaneously at a range of up to 175 nm); new mission computer; and new color cockpit displays.
Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of one of aviation’s great “might-have-beens.” The start of development of an aircraft that became a source of national pride. The start of an aircraft that could have been a world-beater. I’m referring to Canada’s mighty Avro CF-105 Arrow fighter. But an even more recent anniversary looms on Monday: the 53rd anniversary of its death.
The order book of Russian Aircraft Corp. (RSK) MiG will exceed $4 billion by year-end, according to Sergey Tsivilev, the company’s acting director general and designer general. Tsivilev was appointed acting head of RSK-MiG at the end of September after Aleksey Fedorov stepped down from the position to focus on his larger role as president of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
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.
In 2006, orders for Russian armaments totaled $30 billion, while aggregate military exports exceeded the target figure by 20 percent, setting a record of $6.5 billion. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the country has all the preconditions to become the leader of the world arms market.
The Mikoyan MiG-29 carries a reputation as one of the most capable fighter aircraft ever designed, but to keep the revered Russian warplane on the cutting edge, new technology needs to be applied to the marque. Russian and foreign firms have made numerous proposals over the past 12 years, but none of them have ever reached a stage that even approaches Lockheed-Martin F-16’s midlife upgrade program.
Regarded as a prime example of Russian expertise in fighter design, the MiG-29 has become a classic much admired for its ability to perform extreme maneuvers–not least on the international airshow circuit. However, as perceptions of potential threats have changed, so too the MiG-29 has developed from a dedicated fighter/interceptor into a multi-role combat aircraft with a much enhanced capability for attack against ground and naval targets.
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