MiG-29 / MiG-29OVT Fulcrum, Mikoyan-Gurevich

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum Photo by Chris Schenk.

The MiG-29 Fulcrum is a medium-sized air superiority fighter. It is an impressive aircraft, with good performance, armament and manoeuvrability, and the ability to use rough airfields. Range is a weak point, and later versions were modified to carry more fuel. A navalized version has also been flown. The Russian air force seems to prefer the larger Su-27 and its derivatives, but the development of the advanced MiG-29M version has been funded recently. Over 2000 have been built.

Type: MiG-29 'Fulcrum-A'
Country: Soviet Union / Russia
Function: fighter
Year: 1985
Crew: 1
Engines: 2 * 81.4 kN Klimov (Isotov) RD-33
Wing Span: 11.36 m
Length: 17.32 m
Height: 4.73 m
Wing Span: 38 m2
Empty Weight: 11000 kg
Max.Weight: 18500 kg
Speed: Mach 2.3
Rate of climb: 330 m/s
Ceiling: 18000 m
Range: 2100 km
Armament: 1*g30 mm
Unit cost: 11 million USD


The Mig29 is one of the first Russian aircraft that was considered by many to be equal to those in the west. It incorporated a number of innovative technologies, some of which had never been seen on any western fighter. It also reflected a change in the Russian air tactics. For example, previously there had been a very heavy reliance on command and guidance from the ground, therefore there was little need for a cockpit with an excellent view, and since it was easier to make them smaller for aerodynamic reasons as was the trend with the Mig-21, Mig-23 and Mig-25. But the Mig 29 was designed with a large bubble canopy similar to those on most western fighters suggesting a change in tactics.

Louvred doors close the engine intakes while on the ground protecting the compressor from Foreign Object Damage (FOD). The air is sucked in through a number of slits on the upper side of the wing root. On the Mig29M (a further development) these doors have been replaced with a mesh grill similar to the one on the Su27. It reduces complexity and created extra space for fuel and avionics by removing the intakes on top of the wing root.

Mig29 Fulcrum-A

The Mig 29 Fulcrum is of a comparable size to the F/A-18 Hornet. It first became operational in early 1985 and since then has been exported to a number of countries. About 345 of these counter air fighters are in service with the Russian tactical air forces and 110 with the naval forces. The Mig 29 has a high level of manoeuvrability and the coherent pulse Doppler radar (which can track up to 10 targets simultaneously at 69km) combined with a laser range finder and infra-red search and track (IRST) linked to the Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) make it an excellent close in fighter.

The two engines on the Mig29 are the Klimov/Sarkisov RD-33 each providing 18,000 pounds of thrust. Even if one engine is damaged and providing no thrust the Mig 29 is able to accelerate and start on one engine. The engines have proven their ability to take rough handling with manoeuvres such as tail slides which were performed by Anatolij Kvocur at Farnbourough in 1988.

Mig-29M / Fulcrum "E"

The Mig29M has addressed many of the fighters shortcomings. Unfortunately due to the economic position in Russia, Mig-Mapo didn't get any orders for this excellent aircraft. The internal fuel storage has been increased dramatically; is controlled by quadruple fly-by-wire; glass cockpit; new terrain following Zhuk radar; improved engines with reduced smoke trails, better efficiency and more power; new IRST, added TV; longer canopy, a wider, longer and less curved dorsal spine; bulged wing tips with fore and aft Radar Warning Receivers (RWR), eight under wing hardpoints (as opposed to six on earlier versions); aluminium-lithium center section; and finally larger, sharper, repositioned wing roots which create stronger vortices and modifications to extend back the center of gravity limit for relaxed stability which increases the max angle of attack giving more manoeuvrability and better efficiency. As you can see the Mig29M is a much improved aircraft.

MiG-29 OVT / Fulcrum "F"

At the Moscow MAKS airshow in 2001, RSK MiG unveiled a demonstrator with vectored-thrust nozzles . This aircraft, a modification of the sixth MiG-29M prototype, is designated the MiG-29OVT (Otklanyayemi Vektor Tyagi / Deflected Thrust Vector)", and its RD-33 engines are to fitted with Klimov-designed nozzles that can rotate up to 15 degrees in any direction. It also has wingtip launch rails for short-range AAMs. Compared to the MiG-29 the MiG-29 OVT has increased range of more than 2,100 kilometres, improved avionics, vast improvements in weapon systems, HOTAS systems, wide range of weapons of air to air and air to ground, as well as a variety of defensive and offensive avionics suite. The engines have been moved backwards to make more room for fuel in the fuselage.

The MiG-29 OVT, is powered by a newly developed engine that offers an advanced level of manoeuvrability. The new engine's secret lies in the design of the nozzles at the back of the plane, which move in all directions, allowing advanced steering capability. The MiG-29 OVT is the latest version of the MiG-29 jet, which has been on the market for several years. The "all-axis nozzles dramatically increase manoeuvrability, especially at low and zero speed," Vladimir Barkovsky, chief of MiG's design bureau told reporters. The demonstration of the new engine, known as the RD 33, was the culmination of several years' work. MiG started work on developing a new all-axis nozzle in the late 1990s, Barkovsky said. To date, MiG has invested several million dollars in its development.

Production version of the latest MiG-29 with the proven thrust-vectoring engine that use fly-by-wire technology. The aircraft uses the same airframe of the MiG-29M1. The fighter is more agile and has an increase in range to 1,329 statute miles (2,139 km). With improved avionics, vast improvements in weapon systems, HOTAS systems, wide range of weapons of air to air and air to ground, as well as a variety of defensive and offensive avionics suite. It is no longer tied to the GCI system and would be able to conduct operations independently. It has eight weapon pylons and be able to refuel as well as carry three external fuel tanks. The aircraft is being marketed under the designation MiG-35 for potential export.

Power Plant of the Mig29

Specifications for the RD-33Data
Thrust, (sea level, static, dry), (kg)5 098
Thrust, (sea level, static, after burning), (kg)8 300
Internal fuel, kg?
In flight refuelling provisionWas not included on early versions but has since be retrofitted on most Mig29 in service. Retractable probe standard on Mig29M

Dimensions of the Mig29

Wing Span11.36 m
Length (excluding nose probe)17.32 m
Height4.73 m
Wing surface38 m2

Weights of the Mig29

Aircraft StateWeight
Empty8 175 kg
Normal take-off15 000 kg
Maximum take-off18 000 kg

Performance of the Mig29

Max speed at height Mach 2.3
Max speed at sea levelMach 1.225
Ceiling55 000 ft
Take off run820 ft
Landing run1 970 ft
Combat radius710 km
Maximum range2 100 km

Armament of the Mig29

Number and CategoryType
One 30 mm cannon150 rounds
Up to 6 Air to Air missiles including:R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid")
R-60T/MK (AA-8 "Aphid")
R-27R-1 (AA-10A "Alamo A")
R-77A/E (AA-11"Archer")
8 820 lb of air to surface weaponsMost of the guided and free fall types in inventory

Text : Andrew Juniper
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