RSK MiG has added all-aspect thrust-vector control (TVC) to the list of options for the current production MiG-29M/M2 multirole fighter.

The move follows successful completion of a technology-validation programme on the MiG-29OVT demonstrator. The aircraft has performed over 50 flights since mid-2003, when it first engaged TVC in flight.

Commercial offers were made to potential customers earlier this year. “We are offering the system to the Russian, Indian and Chinese militaries,” says Vladimir Shirmanov, general designer at Klimov, which designed the TVC nozzle. The offer is that of a thrust-vectored derivative of the MiG-29M. A decision is yet to be taken on whether the nozzle or whole engine would be available for use in a different aircraft type.

Equipping in-service MiG-29s with TVC is possible, but would entail considerable structural work and installation of fly-by-wire controls. The new Klimov nozzle, however, can be fitted to any RD-33 series engine, while all existing types of air intakes are sufficient.

RSK MiG deputy director-general and chief pilot Pavel Vlasov, who supervises the MiG-29OVT effort, says the flight-test programme will continue, with the focus on further improvement to the flight-control system and its algorithms.

Adding TVC will improve the MiG-29’s chances in the international market, Vlasov adds: “Our customers have always sought a dogfight capability and expected MiG to lead. In all recent international tenders in which we participated there were simulations of close-in combat. They inevitably led to low speeds, where the MiG-29M often won thanks to its higher thrust-to-weight ratio, and where the MiG-29OVT will be unbeatable.”

TVC, coupled with fly-by-wire, allows for carefree handling, safe recovery from critical flight regimes and reduced pilot workload. RSK MiG is working on trajectory control algorithms that would enable the super-agile MiG-29OVT to deceive incoming missiles.

Source: Flight International