Country of origin
Dimensions and weight
Weight (maximum take off)
Engines and performance
2 x Klimov RD-33 turbofans
Traction (dry / with afterburning)
2 x 49.42 / 81.39 kN
2 445 km/h
2 100 km
1 500 km
1 x GSh-301 30 mm cannon
2 x R-27R/R1 or R-27T/T1 and 4 x R-60/60M or
R-73RM2D air-to-air missiles
MiG-29 was developed to meet a Soviet Air Force requirement for a
lightweight multi-role fighter. It was a Soviet response to the
American F-16 multi-role fighter.
With its stunning maneuverability, the MiG-29 re-established the
Soviet Union's reputation as a producer of capable combat aircraft.
This fighter is known in the West as the Fulcrum. The MiG-29 was built in substantial
numbers. About 1 600 fighters of this type were built. Most of
them (about 900) were exported. After Russia, Ukraine is the next
major operator with six regiments (including Fulcrum-Cs). Other
operators are Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, Eritrea, Germany, Hungary,
India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Malaysia, Peru, Poland,
Romania, Slovakia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yugoslavia.
The MiG-29s serve primarily as air defense fighters. All operators
have small numbers of MiG-29UB two-seat conversion trainers.
Incorporating an advanced
aerodynamic design, the MiG-29 has a N-019 pulse-Doppler radar (NATO
reporting name Slot Back) as its primary sensor; this is allied to an infra-red
search and track for
passive tracking of targets.
The 9-12 prototype made its first
flight in 1977, and the type entered service with Soviet Frontal
Aviation in 1986. Replacing
MiG-23, the MiG-29 was assigned dual
air superiority and ground-attack roles. Fighter regiments were also
tasked with tactical nuclear strike with 30 kT RN-40 nuclear bombs.
basic MiG-29 has proved itself as a formidable close-in dogfighter.
The pilot has a helmet-mounted sight to cue missiles onto an
off-boresight target. The very agile R-73 missile remains widely
viewed as the best close combat air-to-air weapon. However, the
MiG-29s primary beyond visual range weapon, the R-27 (Western
reporting name AA-10 Alamo) is no more than
adequate. Furthermore, the RD-33 engines suffer from low
maintainability, and the MiG-29 is also handicapped by its lack of
range and endurance. The latter parameters were addressed by an
improved 9-13 variant allocated the NATO reporting name Fulcrum-C.
This featured a bulged and extended spine, which houses both fuel
and avionics, including an active jammer. Commonly nicknamed Gorbatov (hunchback), this variant was built alongside the standard
the shortcomings of the baseline MiG-29 the design bureau developed
two radically-improved variants. Both the MiG-29M and
naval MiG-29K fell victim to fierce spending cuts after the Cold War
and their further development was halted. MiG MAPO chose to pursue
more limited upgrade programmes for more immediate application to
Russian and export baseline MiG-29s.
The MiG-29S upgrade was applied
to a limited number of Russian 9-13 MiG-29s, the first phase
introducing provision for underwing fuel tanks. It remains unclear
if further phased improvements were applied. These included a
doubling of the warload, provision for in-flight refueling and an upgraded NO19MP
Topaz radar with simultaneous dual target engagement capability. The
radar would have given compatibility with R-77 beyond visual range
air-to-air missiles. Such
features were subsequently offered for export MiG-29s, along with
Western navigation and communications equipment as well as a bolt-on
retractable in-flight refueling probe.
The standard export MiG-29S was known as the
MiG-29SD for 9-12 airframes and as the MiG-29SE when based on the
9-13 airframe. Malaysia's MiG-29Ns are effectively MiG-29SDs. While
these versions were marketed as air superiority fighters, the
MiG-29SM stressed its multi-role capability with TV- and
laser-guided air-to-surface weapons.
Pending the production of a
fifth-generation fighter, the Russian air force is upgrading over
150 9-13 MiG-29s to a standard comparable to the MiG-29SMT (9-17);
this first full standard prototype flew in 1998. The upgrade was
include an N-019ME or MP radar, a modern glass cockpit, greatly
increased internal fuel capacity, RD-43 engines, improved
serviceability, addition of an IFR system, and increased combat
load; not all of the features mentioned were planned to be incorporated in the
first phase of the upgrade.
is a shipborne multi-role fighter. It entered service with the
Russian Navy in 2013 alongside with the MiG-29KUB two-seat
conversion trainer. These are operated from the Russian
Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.
ago India acquired from Russia a former
light aircraft carrier
Admiral Gorshkov, but in a modified and upgraded form. In 2004 an
agreement was signed to refit this Russian ship and sell it to
India. This deal also included 12 MiG-29K fighters and 4 MiG-29KUB
conversion trainers. In 2010 India ordered additional 29 MiG-29Ks.
The MiG-29K entered operational service with the Indian Navy during
the same year. In 2014 the refitted aircraft carrier was
commissioned with the Indian Navy as the
the MiG-29 is the
(Fulcrum-F). This multi-role fighter made its first flight in 2007.
It has more powerful engines, new radar and new avionics. Though the
MiG-35 received no production orders.
MiG-29MU2 is a recent Ukrainian modernized version. It costs around
$3.6 million and takes around 9 months for Ukrainians to refurbish
and upgrade a single aircraft to the MiG-29MU2 standard.