MiG Describes a Road To Recovery

 - November 9, 2012, 1:55 PM

Russian Aircraft MiG (RAC MiG) demonstrated new MiGs being built at its aircraft manufacturing plant in Lukhovitsy near Moscow, when a group of Russian members of Parliament from the defense committee inspected the plant together with a group of journalists. The members of Parliament said they want to ensure that the MiG company continues to be one of the major suppliers to the Russian armed forces. They voiced concern that the proportion of MiGs in the Russian air force inventory has reduced over the past few years.

RAC MiG was unsuccessful in the Indian tender for 126 medium multirole fighter aircraft, when that country chose the French Dassault Rafale over the MiG-35D. Earlier, Algeria refused to accept 36 MiG-29SMT/UBTs, alleging “bad manufacturing quality” (the Russian air force subsequently purchased these airplanes). The members of Parliament said that RAC MiG’s current manufacturing infrastructure needs improvement. However, they said that the Russian government is spending enough on defense to provide a high workload for the key players in the national military-industrial complex. In particular, they stated that between 2013 and 2015 the Kremlin will spend Rouble 7.7 trillion ($257 billion) on weapon procurement, and Rouble 20 trillion ($670 billion) by 2020. This should increase the proportion of modern weapon systems in the inventory of the Russian armed forces from its current 10 percent to 70 percent over the next 20 years.

RAC MiG general director Sergei Korotkov described RAC MiG as on the road to recovery. The company’s order backlog now exceeds $6 billion (U.S.). More than 100 contracts with 20 countries are under way. “We have a considerable backlog of orders from the local customer and foreign countries, which gives us a high workload through to 2017,” said Korotkov. MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighters for the Indian and Russian naval air arms, together with their land-based MiG-29M/M2 derivatives, provide most of the company’s workload. These feature fly-by-wire flight control systems, much-reduced radar cross section and open architecture of on-board systems.

MiG aircraft are operating in 65 countries, and more than 1,600 MiG-29s have been delivered to Russian customers and 28 foreign countries. “The U.S. is among the type’s users, as we know that MiG-29s are currently being employed in a U.S. pilot training center,” Korotkov said. “After a pause, we will resume deliveries of newly built airplanes to the local customer, with first deliveries due next year,” Korotkov said. He expects the Russian MoD to place orders for MiG-35Ds next year or in 2014.

Separately, in March 2008 India signed a contract for modernization and conversion of MiG-29s already in service with the Air Force to MiG-29UPG standard. Some 90 percent of these aircraft will be upgraded in India under Russian supervision. The MiG-29UPG features an avionics suite “harmonized with that of the MiG-29K.” The first batch of six aircraft has already completed repair and refit at MiG. Indian-painted MiG-29UPGs were seen at the Lukhovitsy plant fitted with a slotted-type radar antenna. Apparently, this device has replaced the Cassegrain-type (parabolic) antennas originally fitted to the N-019 radar equipping early-production MiG-29s.