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Russia's thrust-vectoring RD-133 set for MiG-29 tests

Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW

Klimov is ready to install the improved RD-133 turbofan on a modified RSK MiG-29 Fulcrum after the thrust vectoring engine logged 100h on a ground rig.

The 12,000lb-thrust (55kN) RD-133, which is being developed for MiG-29 upgrades, has a larger fan than the RD-33, which increases mass flow from 79kg (175lb)/s to 82kg/s, Valentin Starovoytenkov, Klimov chief designer said at last month's Engine 2000 show in Moscow. The engine's augmented thrust is 19,000lb. The three-dimensional, axisymmetric vectoring nozzle can be deflected ±15° at around 30°/s. Turbine inlet temperature has been raised by 40°C to 1,720°C - with margin to take it to 1,750°C - through the use of directionally solidified blades and convective-film cooling. A "smokeless" combustion chamber and a full authority digital engine control and monitoring system are also introduced.

The engine can be retrofitted on MiG-29s, but the airframe will require some changes. Meanwhile, Klimov has started work on the first eight RD-33-3Ms, which will power Indian navy MiG-29K carrier-based fighters. The RD-33-3M will make use of RD-133improvements, although thrust vectoring will not be used. Another RD-33 development - the RD-93 - will power the Chengdu FC-1 fighter. Although the RD-93 does not have the RD-133's improvements, Klimov expects China to request them shortly. A batch of 100 RD-93s will be handed over early next year. China will not licence-build the engine but will construct an RD-93 overhaul plant with Klimov and Russian air force assistance.

• Klimov and Ukraine's Progress have formed VK-MS, a Moscow-based venture with exclusive marketing rights for TV3-117 turbo- shaft/turboprop retrofit programmes. About 15,000 TV3-117s are in service, mostly on Mil Mi-8, Mi-24 and Kamov Ka-32 helicopters. VK-MS will overhaul engines and install a new turbine and other hot-section components. Overhauled engines will have a 10,000h life, up from 7,500h. The VK-1500 turboprop version will be offered for the Antonov An-3, An-38 and Beriev Be-32.

• Production of the first eight Soyuz RD-1700s for the RSK MiG-AT trainer has started at Chernyshev.