Dominating the flying display at Le Bourget is RAC MiG’s thrust-vectoring MiG-29OVT, which the design bureau describes as “part of the test programme for the new ‘Unificated’ family of advanced MiG-29 variants”, on which new MiG-29 production will be based, and for which thrust vectoring is an option.
These new versions are based on the airframe of the original MiG-29M (9-15) variant, which first flew in 1986 and which was intended as a replacement for early MiG-29s in Soviet service. The programme was abandoned after the Cold War, but the six prototypes were retained and used for development and trials. They had a revised airframe with increased internal fuel capacity, a fly-by-wire control system, and Klimov RD-33K turbofans rated at 19,400 lb thrust (86 kN).
The first members of the family are the MiG-29M and the two-seat MiG-29M2 (also known as the MiG-29 MRCA), which are multi-role fighter variants. Since the original 9-15 flew the design has been revised, with a new cockpit with three colour LCD displays and Zhuk-M radar.
The two-seat MiG-29M2 first flew in 2001. The type was offered to meet Malaysia’s Multi Role Combat Aircraft requirement, and has reportedly been ordered by Algeria. It incorporates a new forward fuselage, entirely different to that of the standard MiG-29UB trainer, which had a second cockpit in front of the normal cockpit, and which thus lacked radar.
The MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB are effectively carrier-capable versions of the MiG-29M and MiG-29M2, with strengthened undercarriage and folding wings, as originally developed for the MiG-29K. The original MiG-29K was developed for the Russian navy, and formed the basis of MiG’s offer to the Indian navy, though the new carrier variant incorporated the M/M2’s more modern avionics and systems.
The MiG-29K and KUB are being supplied to the Indian Navy. The KUB first flew in January 2007, and MiG deputy director general Vladimir Barkovsky said at Paris that the single-seater would fly “very soon”.
Features from these variants were used in the new MiG-35. This new version has a Phazotron NIIR Zhuk-AE AESA radar, new electro-optical equipment and a new defensive aids suite. The aircraft is being heavily promoted to meet India’s MMRCA fighter requirement, though MiG admits It has have “no definite contracts” for the new variant.
Source: Flight Daily News