By Jon Lake
The Russian Aircraft Company MiG used the show to outline its activities, as it prepares to become a private company under the control of the United Aircraft Corporation.

Deputy director general (designer general) Vladimir Barkovsky emphasised the company’s ‘total life cycle’ approach, bringing together all aspects of aircraft manufacturing and support, from design and development, through production, delivery, after-sales support, maintenance and upgrades.

Some 6,300 MiGs are in service in 56 countries, but the company is focusing its activities on the MiG-29 and MiG-31, and on new programmes including UAVs and weapons. No mention was made of a next-generation fighter, leading some analysts to conclude that MiG has ceded new fighter development to Sukhoi.
MiG-31 activity is limited to upgrades for operators in the former CIS, while the company is offering a spectrum of upgrades and training aids for the MiG-29.
With more than 1,600 MiG-29s in service in 29 countries, many of them delivered during the 1980s, the upgrade market is especially significant, with deputy director general Vladimir Vypryazhkin estimating it as being worth $7-8 billion.

The most basic level of upgrade is the MiG-29SD, which provides NATO-compatible IFF and communications systems, a GPS-based navigation system with TACAN and VOR/ILS, new lights and a multi-function colour display replacing the original dedicated radar display. The upgrade has been incorporated by MiG, in association with BAE Systems, Rockwell Collins, Smiths, Goodrich and Hella Aerospace Lighting Systems.

The MiG-29SM represents what Barkovsky described as a “budget route to multi-role functionality” with much the same modifications as the SD, and with an upgraded multi-channel sighting suite, and new weapons, including R27ER1, R27ET1 and RVV-AE air-to-air missiles, and precision-guided air-to-ground weapons including KAB-500KR and KAB-500OD smart bombs and Kh-29T, Kh-31A and Kh-31P missiles. Like the MiG-29SD upgrade, the MiG-29SM upgrade can be undertaken ‘in country’. The MiG-29SMT requires a ‘return to works’ and is a more extensive modification, adding a Zhuk-ME radar, a glass cockpit with two colour LCD displays, and an open architecture avionics system.

In addition to these modifications, MiG is offering a service life extension programme and on-condition maintenance that it says slashes operating costs by more than 40%. The company is establishing service support systems, and even offers subscription-based annual servicing contracts using leased teams of MiG technicians.
MiG has sold MiG-29SM and SMT upgrades to several Middle Eastern and North African countries, and has traded in existing aircraft for MiG-29SMTs and MiG-29M/M2s.

In Europe, several MiG-29 users have approached the company to restore their aircraft to full airworthiness or upgrade them.
In Slovakia, aircraft have been upgraded to SD standard, and have had a service life extension, while on-condition maintenance and subscription-based servicing have been adopted.

In Hungary, aircraft have received a repair and update modification. On-condition maintenance is being introduced, while negotiations for an upgrade are underway.
On-condition maintenance is also being introduced in Bulgaria and Poland. Negotiations for upgrades are underway, with MiG in “very active negotiations with BAE Systems”, according to Vypryazhkin.

Source: Flight Daily News