MIG MAPO flew the MiG-29SMT Fulcrum for the first time on 27 November, from the Zhukovski flight-test centre near Moscow.

The modification, which carriers the internal designation Object 9-17, is based on a Fulcrum C airframe. The prototype aircraft, a modified Fulcrum C, has an upgraded cockpit, along with reconfigured equipment bays.

The latter change provides for greater internal-fuel capacity, which increases the maximum range of the aircraft by over 270nm (500km). One of the weaknesses of the Fulcrum design has been its limited range

The MiG-29SMT is intended primarily for export, with Ecuador a potential launch customer, although MIG MAPO harbours ambitions to persuade the Russian air force to upgrade at least some of its own Fulcrums. The cockpit has two Western-sourced multi-function displays, as well as a wide field-of-view head-up display.

In addition, MIGMAPO claims that the production-standard MiG-29SMT will have a radar capable of ground mapping, to support the use of air-to-surface weapons. The Zvezda Strela Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton) radar-guided anti-ship missile is also being offered , as is the Vympel Kh-29T(AS-14Kedge) television-guided missile.

Source: Flight International