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MiG-29 Fulcrum variant may get bigger engine

In its latest attempt to make the MiG-29 Fulcrum more attractive to potential export customers, RSK MiG may use the more powerful Klimov RD-33(Mod) engines from the naval MiG-29K as standard for the latest Fulcrum variants.

Klimov has delivered four 20,500lb-thrust (91kN) RD-33(Mod) engines for testing in MiG-29Kprototypes ahead of a long-expected Indian navy order for the aircraft. Klimov is also developing a 22,000lb-thrust RD-33 and the VK-10M derivative with an enlarged compressor to boost thrust to more than 24,200lb.

RSK MiG and the Russian air force have meanwhile started "joint testing a number of upgraded aircraft", including the MiG-29SMT, after an agreement made this year.

Two MiG-29SMT prototypes will be joined by a third in June while a fourth is due for completion in September. The latter will be the first built by a production plant rather than the Mikoyan Engineering Centre's prototyping factory.

The Russian air force is understood to be planning a "unifying upgrade" across its MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 fleets, when both types will receive a RPKB Ramenskoye-developed avionics system, based on that for China's Su-30MKK.

A compromise has been reached between RSK and the air force on the technical aspects of the MiG-29SMT upgrade. As a first stage, the N-019 radar will be upgraded to the N-019M standard by Phazotron-NIIR, while the Phazotron Zhuk-M will be installed as a second stage.