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Thread: MiG-29 Fulcrum

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    MiG-29 Fulcrum

    With the constant talk of the Flanker series, I get rather bored and although I fully acknowledge the fact that the Su-27 and its cousins are superb warplanes, there is just something about the MiG-29 that has always appealed to me.

    I started this thread for two reasons:

    1. What lies in the future for the MiG-29? Is the Indian MRCA deal likely to be awarded to the Fulcrum with the IN adopting the MiG-29K and the IAF having a fairly sizeable fleet of Fulcrums? What else is in store for the Fulcrum? Will it continue to have a good future like its western stablemate the F-16 or will we see it phased out in favor of other fighters?

    2. Please post any neat MiG-29 pictures you have...especially ones with weapons. (Where is tbzz these days? He always had great stocks of photos).

    Hope to get some good discussion going on what some would consider the "other" Russian fighter of the modern day era.
    Fox-4!

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    I think future of the 29 is dependent more on MRCA than any of the other competitors. F16,FA18,Phoon, Gripen are all pretty much assured to be in service up to 2030 (or longer) with significant numbers to warrent continuig support and upgrade program.

    Same cant be said for Fulcrum. Few dozen Ks will not be enough to warrant significant expenditure and upgrade program. 120 Aircraft filled with latest tech (AESA , OLS, Jammers etc) would change that. There are many Mig29 opperators in the wolrd with units which are mostly at or beyond their service life. Some of these looking for replacement could look to Fulcrum again, providing that its future is secured.

    I expect MiG to be pushing very hard for MRCA as it stands most to gain/lose compared to other manifacturers. Question is whether or not internal politicis in Russia is such that some "players' would like MiG to remain weak??

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    Right now Indian Mig-29 is going through a complete upgrade ( 60 + odd aircraft ) which will keep it operational for next 25 years , IN Mig-29K planned around 45 will remain operational for similar period , plus Russia will purchase 22 Mig-29K.

    So Mig-35 does have a long term future , it remains to be seen if it can make through MMRCA if it does , RuAF will purchase 25 odd Mig-35.
    "A map does you no good if you don't know where you are"

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    20 MiG-29s will be delivered to Myanmar in the near future. The RuAF is finishing acquisition of the SMTs that were originaly meant for Algeria. Further orders from various countries are likely during this decade.

    Even if the MiG-35 fails to win the Indian MRCA deal, there will still be a good number (200+) aircraft still flying in 2030.

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    Although the American in me is pulling for the Super Hornet to win the deal, it would be a shame to see the Fulcrum series start to fade away...it's such a beautiful airplane and the capabilities of the MiG-35 are nothing short of impressive in my opinion.
    Fox-4!

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    yes indeed the Fulcrum is one of the most beautiful airplanes ever to fly. Would love to see it continue on for a couple more decades and not just in the IAF, but in other Air Forces too. the MiG-35 does offer a lot of capabilities for a decent price and there might be some customers still who might be able to purchase a few dozen of these..

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    MiG-29 Sniper
    Upgrade attempt for Romanian Air Force, by Israeli firms. First flight occurred on 5 May 2000. The program was halted along with the retiring of Romanian MiG-29s in 2003. The latter occurred because of high maintenance costs, which led to the Romanian Government's decision to halt the MiG-29 program and further invest in the MiG-21 LanceR program.

    Would have been interesting to see if this program had have been completed, a Mig-29 with the latest Israeli upgrades might have been a hard plane to beat

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    Hornet v. MiG
    U.S. Marine aviators to Malaysian MiG pilots: Show us what you got.
    By Ed Darack
    "A map does you no good if you don't know where you are"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    Hornet v. MiG
    U.S. Marine aviators to Malaysian MiG pilots: Show us what you got.
    By Ed Darack
    Somewhat ironic you should mention the Malaysian MiG-29s. Their air force has recently been discussing getting rid of the MiG-29 as they were too expensive to maintain, as with quite a lot of other air arms (including Rumania).
    The Fulcrum just isn't as cheap as a MiG-21 to fly. The '21' probably already outnumbers the '29' in world service.
    Patrick

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    Interesting article ... that SHipley chap sure has a lot of experience; couple of things that caught my eye -

    The Hornet, however, is a more maneuverable aircraft, with a fly-by-wire control system and more advanced avionics and cockpit displays.
    Hornet more maneuverable than a fulcrum? WHat do advanced avionics have to do with maneuverability? Is this true? Also, don't the RMAF 29s have the HMD/Archer combo?

    USS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Levsha View Post
    Somewhat ironic you should mention the Malaysian MiG-29s. Their air force has recently been discussing getting rid of the MiG-29 as they were too expensive to maintain, as with quite a lot of other air arms (including Rumania).
    The Fulcrum just isn't as cheap as a MiG-21 to fly. The '21' probably already outnumbers the '29' in world service.
    The MiG-29 is far more capable than a MiG-21, but requires maintainance, any aircraft does, many MiG-29 were sold at least a decade a go, airframes get worn, it is obvious an air force without money will make such statement, but the MiG-29 still is bought and sold, India is an example, Syria is another one .

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    Quote Originally Posted by uss novice View Post
    Interesting article ... that SHipley chap sure has a lot of experience; couple of things that caught my eye -



    Hornet more maneuverable than a fulcrum? WHat do advanced avionics have to do with maneuverability? Is this true? Also, don't the RMAF 29s have the HMD/Archer combo?

    USS
    That is not true the MiG-29 is still better, but old airframes are not prefered, few MiG-29Ms, MiG-29SMT and MiG-35 have been sold, so most MiG-29A are old, even in russian service, many MiG-29 in many air forces will need replacement soon and the MiG-29 is not going to be their first option among Russian fighters or Western fighters if it is not a MiG-35

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomII View Post
    With the constant talk of the Flanker series, I get rather bored and although I fully acknowledge the fact that the Su-27 and its cousins are superb warplanes, there is just something about the MiG-29 that has always appealed to me.

    I started this thread for two reasons:

    1. What lies in the future for the MiG-29? Is the Indian MRCA deal likely to be awarded to the Fulcrum with the IN adopting the MiG-29K and the IAF having a fairly sizeable fleet of Fulcrums? What else is in store for the Fulcrum? Will it continue to have a good future like its western stablemate the F-16 or will we see it phased out in favor of other fighters?

    2. Please post any neat MiG-29 pictures you have...especially ones with weapons. (Where is tbzz these days? He always had great stocks of photos).

    Hope to get some good discussion going on what some would consider the "other" Russian fighter of the modern day era.
    If you mean the MiG name, at least for now the MiG-29 has no more future than 15 years in terms of sales, MiG will vanish eclipsed by the T-50 unless they build a new fighter.
    By 2020, the T-50 will be the main russian fighter for export and only a few Su-35 and MiG-35 will be sold.
    By that time the Chinese J-10, J-11 and the Eurocanards will represent their inmediate competition, but the real killer will be the F-35 and possibly a new Chinese fighter.
    By 2020 most 1970s and 1980s aircraft will be utterly obsolete, the J-10 and Eurocanards will be in the same situation by 2025 as the F-4 was in 1990, today the MiG-29 is in the same situation the MiG-23 was in 1980 when the first MiG-29 were been built.
    In few words why fight an F-22 with a MiG-29/MiG-35? it is like a MiG-23 versus a F-15, so basicly there is no point
    Last edited by kiwinopal; 5th June 2010 at 19:34.

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    some great pics of the MiG-29 "Baaz" (Eagle) induction ceremony into the IAF dating back to 1987..the camouflage was different in those days, nowadays its all over low-viz gray. its fitting that these beauties are going to serve another 20-25 years in the IAF. We'll still see the original front fuselage that has now changed with the MiG-29K and MiG-35..








    Air Chief Marshal Dennis La Fontaine was wearing khaki coloured uniform..that was before the IAF changed its uniform colour to sky blue..
    Last edited by Kramer; 5th June 2010 at 20:17.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    Hornet v. MiG
    U.S. Marine aviators to Malaysian MiG pilots: Show us what you got.
    By Ed Darack
    Granted the Mig-29 has lesser loiter time and a horrible fuel consumtion ratio.
    Also those smokey engines and outdated avionics.
    But when it comes to manuvrebility..

    This article do not give credit to the Mig-29 nose point autority..


    Thanks
    Last edited by haavarla; 6th June 2010 at 11:17.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haavarla View Post
    Granted the Mig-29 has lesser loiter time and a horrible fuel consumtion ratio.
    Also those smokey engines and outdated avionics.
    But when it comes to manuvrebility..

    This article do not give credit to the Mig-29 nose point autority..


    Thanks
    What is not so important in BVR or with all-aspect AAMs in WVR. Just the all-aspect AAMs and the HMS will gave the MiG-29 the edge in such WVR encounters. The other way around the US-flyers were not allowed to make use of their superior automated radar and AAM-120s or AWACS support.
    The main purpose of that exercise was to bring the US-flyers into a more critical situation they have to extract from, when the Malaysians learned new tactical maneuvers from one of the best trained flyers to make better use of their fighters at hand.

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    I do pity the Marines pitting Non-Super Hornets against Su 30 MKM in the next exercises.
    Love Planes, Live Planes

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    It would be interesting to see how to modern Mig-29K of IN would do against USN F-18 E/F , hopefully some day we would see a BFM/DACT between the two.
    "A map does you no good if you don't know where you are"

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Kramer View Post
    some great pics of the MiG-29 "Baaz" (Eagle) induction ceremony into the IAF dating back to 1987..the camouflage was different in those days, nowadays its all over low-viz gray. its fitting that these beauties are going to serve another 20-25 years in the IAF. We'll still see the original front fuselage that has now changed with the MiG-29K and MiG-35..
    Brilliant Pics , I remember my first introduction to Mig-29 was through Frontline magazine when they carried 3 -4 page article on IAF in 1992 during IAF Diamond Jubilee , that was for the first time I saw the Mig-29 and I was totally stunned by its looks. Few of the Mig-29 had some color marking on its Tail and the caption mentioned it was for dedicated AD role.

    Thanks brings back old memories !
    "A map does you no good if you don't know where you are"

  20. #20
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    I remember some nice pics from "MiG-29 Fulcrum" (Jon Lake?!) back in the late 80s with other countries that the Fulcrum served with. Too bad I don't have that book anymore, along with the Su-27 Flanker same author. Those books were stolen...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fulcrum-aholic View Post
    I remember some nice pics from "MiG-29 Fulcrum" (Jon Lake?!) back in the late 80s with other countries that the Fulcrum served with. Too bad I don't have that book anymore, along with the Su-27 Flanker same author. Those books were stolen...
    I have several books even one of jon Lake but these days there are so many pictures on the internet that basicly you can delight your self any time with the MiG-29
    In example just googling i found this which shows one of my favorite views of the MiG-29
    Last edited by kiwinopal; 6th June 2010 at 23:11.

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    Awesome pic!!! Found it while googling...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Quote Originally Posted by fulcrum-aholic View Post
    Awesome pic!!! Found it while googling...
    To be honest i do not like tha view a lot, it looks a bit old, i like more the same view on the MiG-29SMT

    any way the Fulcrum is one of my favorite aircraft of all time, so i am too a Fulcrum-aholic
    here are a few nices videos i like where you can see the MiG-29SMT
    i think this one

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2UDHA3__6M
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXwda...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnHqh...eature=related
    Last edited by kiwinopal; 7th June 2010 at 12:47.

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    thanks for the snaps kramer. I still have that issue of frontline carefully preserved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by attitude View Post
    MiG-29 Sniper
    Upgrade attempt for Romanian Air Force, by Israeli firms. First flight occurred on 5 May 2000. The program was halted along with the retiring of Romanian MiG-29s in 2003. The latter occurred because of high maintenance costs, which led to the Romanian Government's decision to halt the MiG-29 program and further invest in the MiG-21 LanceR program.

    Would have been interesting to see if this program had have been completed, a Mig-29 with the latest Israeli upgrades might have been a hard plane to beat
    Well, the Sniper upgrade was not as comprehensive as the LanceR upgrade, in fact it was quite limited. Crucially, the radar and weapon systems remained the same, Soviet "A" export standard.

    This upgrade only brought a new glass cockpit, HUD, nav-com, computers, MIL-1553 data bus, IFF and some other minor changes. No structural upgrades, no airframe or engine life extension, not even wing fuel tanks as for the German or - more recently - Slovak Fulcrums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom View Post
    thanks for the snaps kramer. I still have that issue of frontline carefully preserved.
    any chance that you could post scans of that article also ? Frontline was a mag that was not like today's rags which are generally more on hype and less on any substance.

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    Some I took when the MiG-29 was show casing in South Africa. A Russian fighter at an Israeli designed base in SA, who would have thought?






    pb::

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    MiG-29 '01' I can never forget that pic!!! I think the one being intercepted by a Finnish or Swedish fighter/recon just before the Fulcrums first went to Finland?! I always have difficulty finding that pic on the Internet...

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    Nice picture of the SMT up there, although there are no current plans to put this upgrade into service. The SM upgrade for the Flanker is underway and Su-30MKK, an M upgrade for the Su-33 is earmarked and the Su-34 has orders to fill and that's about the limit of Kremlin's budget I think presently.

    It appears for a variety of reasons the MiG-29 is being phased out in CIS service and has a limited update life in exports. It will remain in service for up to another ten years however, as a second echelon fighter in the 9-13 series form but it is unsuitable for a front line fighter role in the air force of a major power.

    It is a great aircraft and one of my favourites, but there are many comparative problems. One of the things it is most famous for is achieving a parity with digital/FBW aircraft such as the Block 40 F-16 and F/A-18A/B fighters, Mirage 2000 and so on, using analogue translation of boosted hydraulic controls.

    This is also one of its great drawbacks in the 4/4++/5 gen environment, in a sense the Fulcrum-A/C can be thought of as a 3++ gen fighter with a 4th gen parity, but it is one the pilot has to work very hard to achieve. A lot of workload normally taken by the digital flight computer is left to the pilot and the hydraulics are sluggish in translation compared to FBW. The Fulcrum is built like a 4th gen fighter, with composites and lerx but it has the controls of an F-4 Phantom and a radar/weapons package not much better.

    The success of the Luftwaffe Fulcrums in CWC engagements is primarily attributed to the superiority of the Archer/HMTD combination, at the time only South Africa and the Israelis were working on similar projects, and the EOS had no NATO equivalence (it is more sophisticated than IRST).
    At low altitude however even the Block 40 F-16 was found to be more manoeuvrable, although they evened out at higher altitudes, whilst the Block 50 has quite a bit more power on tap and is regarded superior in all respects.
    Meanwhile the Hornet has a much better turn at transonic speeds (above 0.85M), which considering all these types high power/weight ratios is an atypical CWC speed. At the other end of the scale the MiG loses most of its manoeuvrability at low speed because it lacks a digital flight computer, whilst at any speed it can't match control authority (such as roll rate).
    Most MAPO claims about MiG engineering tolerances (such as its 12g limitation) are also universally regarded exaggerated by NATO with experience gained from German Fulcrum-A and those Fulcrum-C bought from Moldova by the USAF in 1997. Used under the same conditions as F-16's for extended periods, Fulcrums displayed cracking around the base of the vertical stabilisers, the Vipers well within tolerances.

    The final problem mostly for export operators is the engines, which are very high maintenance and by that I mean detuning is advised to preserve operational life. German Fulcrums were detuned and the practise was followed by Rumania and you'll probably find every other independent operator outside the CIS as well. The engines were probably the main reason the MiG-29K was overlooked for the AV-MF (Naval Aviation) for its shipboard complement, in favour of the terrifically expensive Flanker with its infinitely more reliable and trouble free Lyulkas (the other consideration was unrefuelled range).

    With detuned engines the power/weight ratio of the Flanker drops to the Hornet class, which takes away its primary advantage and it doesn't change the relative inefficiency of the max afterburner thrust, which uses fuel very quickly (it has two sets of afterburners for the core airflow and bypass to give it the powerful 81.4kN rating, though closer to 77kN detuned).
    Dry operation of a fully tuned RD-33 is the same as an F404 anyway, but it has a lower overall pressure ratio in the HP compressor (loses momentum in sustained manoeuvres), and a low engine life (overhaul meant scrapping in one mechanic's description I read, but a consistent supply of parts and kits from Russia helps a lot).

    So even when you take away the problem of its terrible and archaic radar set, navigation system and other avionics installations (only slightly improved in Fulcrum-C, the radar is slightly updated and can track 2 targets...um sometimes, and it has internal ECM jammer), the Fulcrum still falls shy of staying with the head of the pack in Hornet/Viper terms without very skilled piloting under very heavy workloads with very poor SA and just about everything stacked against you.
    It has the one bonus of Archers/HMTD but the AIM-9x and Python-4 are better than the Archer by repute and helmet sights are becoming integrated into NATO aircraft.
    Other than that it is better than trying to face 4th gen fighters in an F-4, a MiG-21/23, yet still cheaper than an F-16 so it serves as a compromise.


    The thing about the Fulcrum which is magnificent is how it serves what it was designed to do. The vast problem here is everybody trying to use the Fulcrum like a western fighter and it just wasn't ever meant to do that.

    It was built to a very specific requirement, to operate from well supported although rough surfaced frontal airfields near to the combat arena in order to counter NATO F-16 aircraft in use by tactical air forces if the Cold War turned hot. When attached to an Army as part of the Soviet Frontal Aviation divisions, such as in Poland or East Germany its capabilities are excellent, you're virtually in CWC ranges with e/a immediately upon take off and its performance in this realm can at least compete with Block 40 F-16 on equal terms and probably in greater numbers (less than 450 is being operated by the RuAF now but the Soviets had over 800 in service just before collapse and most of these at first contact Frontal defence bases).

    The Fulcrums problems only begin when you export them or stop funding continual maintenance/upgrade programs pretty much around the clock whilst you've got them in service. Those are Cold War measures the Russians can no longer afford, and export customers just can't do even if they had the money.

    The Flanker is much more like a western contemporary, the Fulcrum is much more like a manned MRM SAM site and not really contemporary with complex modern export fighters or the current combat environment. They still work for CIS border defence, but any expensive upgrade program is doomed from the beginning by their inherent design limitations, ones the Flanker doesn't have despite being so much more expensive. Upgrading the Fulcrum, say a digital/FBW SMT with all new modern avionics throughout is going to be such a big job you might as well just equip 0.75 times SM Flankers and call it even, call it better in fact.

    The best thing about the Fulcrum, the fact it is produced in refrigerator factories (which continue making household refrigerators alongside it), it is completely muted by the fact the modern combat warplane requires such sophisticated avionics and systems. You can't put thousands of them into service anyway, so it makes no difference if you design the airframe to be built by the thousands at the hands of semi-skilled labourers. This isn't WW2 anymore.

    And the funny part, the most appropriate place for the Fulcrum is in Chinese production pretty much as it is, to be put in service as a 3++ gen warplane by the thousands and replacing the J-7, but they're building a small force of titanium Flankers for about the same cost/complexity and keeping the 21's.

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