“Stealth does not make you invisible,” said the Russian designer sitting across the table at an out-of-the way institute in Moscow. “It makes an aircraft more survivable–but the concept that it is the only path to increasing the survivability of a military aircraft is wrong. We have taken a different approach from the U.S.”
One set of options for MiG-29 operators involves the cockpit modernization packages offered by Israel’s Elbit Systems. The modular approach allows for the integration of new sensors, systems and weapons, along with an improved man-machine interface.
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.
Russian fifth-generation fighter programs could undergo major revisions to meet India’s requirements, following Sukhoi’s offer of an export version of the latest T-50 model. With India as a major importer of Russian defense equipment (purchases last year accounted for $1.8 billion), Sukhoi and its rival/possible collaborator can ill-afford to be out of sync with the Asian power’s military agenda.
Celebrating the fifth anniversary since its formation, Rosoboronexport has successfully promoted the sale of Russian aerospace products, valued at more than $5 billion, for the last couple of years. The company manages about 90 percent of Russian defense exports and current orders totaling some $12 billion will keep the country’s factories busy into at least 2008.
As competition to meet demands for advanced jet trainers in the region intensifies, Irkut is promoting the Yak-130 now entering production to meet a Russian Air Force requirement. Selected in 2002 as the principal aircraft for basic and advanced training, the Yak-130 has only recently begun rolling off the Irkut production line against an initial order for 12.
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.
The next generation of the Russian MiG-29 fighter will now be marketed and sold under the new designator of MiG-35, as it is a distinctly new-technology, four-plus generation aircraft. This version of the multi-role fighter is a modern-day evolution of the MiG-29M-9.15 design concept aircraft that was first introduced in the early 1990s.
Western powers increasingly characterize Iran as a potential cause for instability in the Middle East. The U.S. and its allies charge Tehran with funding and supporting the insurgency in Iraq, maintaining a well-developed ballistic missile program and seeking its own nuclear arsenal.
Almost four years ago the Indian parliament’s defense standing committee leveled a number of major criticisms at the nation’s defense procurement process.