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Thread: MiG-29 Fulcrum

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanir
    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.
    Su-30MKK is a Chinese variant. What has that got to do with the Kremlin's budget ? Anyway, MiG has a large (nearly $1 billion) order for the upgrade to 65 IAF MiG-29s to the SMT level, so an IAF customised SMT based upgrade will enter service.
    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.
    unsuitable in its present un-upgraded form. the weak point of the MiG-29 has always been its relatively unsophisticated (by Western standards) electronics and cluttered cockpit. If those issues would be taken care of, you have a potent fighter because the MiG-29's airframe, handling and maneuverability are never its weak points.
    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.
    latest MiG-29 variants (MiG-29K, MiG-35) are quadruplex digital FBW fighters. even the IAF's 65 MiG-29s will be upgraded with an Integrated Digital FBW control system that will replace the mechanically controlled system. the issues that you talk about will not exist in these fighters. Care-free handling, automatic g-limiters and auto-pilot will be integrated and all that means reduced pilot workload.
    You really need to read up on the upgrade that the IAF is giving its MiG-29s. A new Central Digital Computer, a new Data Display System with Multi-function LCD displays, new HUD, new TV signal switching and Digital Processing Unit and a new Video Recording System. Add to that new Navigation equipment with GPS, VOR, ILS/MKR and TACAN as well as a new radio altimeter. Plus new communication equipment as well as data transmission and datalink and the new ECM equipment with Tarang or R119 RWR, Pod-mounted Active Jammer, CMDS and a new day/night laser and TV targeting pod (probably Litening LDP )

    And new engines as well with RD-33 Series 3 have much higher MTBO and MTBF figures compared to the original RD-33 on the MiG-29s. That would mean lower maintenance costs per year and higher availability, taking care of the two biggest complaints of the MiG-29s, as well as a relatively smoke-less combustor which means no giving away of the MiG-29's position by its smoke trail.

    Also, these IAF MiG-29s will be getting an airframe life-extension with 1500 hours added to the original 3000 hours fatigue life that the MiG-29 had.

    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).
    the MiG-29K doesn't feature the RD-33 but the RD-33MK Sea Wasp engine that is quite an upgraded engine with much higher MTBF and MTBO times. Non-smoky due to new combustor design and it also has increased thrust over the RD-33. And when you say "terrifically expensive" what does that mean ? the Flanker or the Fulcrum are much cheaper than any western equivalent. the MiG-29K also has much higher range thanks to internal fuel tanks where the louvers used to be. Plus wet hard points, giving the ability to carry wing-drop tanks which many MiG-29s didn't have.

    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).
    You mean "Fulcrum" not "Flanker". And the detuning may have been done by the Luftwaffe or Romania, but I've not heard of the IAF doing anything like that. The last thing they'd want is a detuned engine in the hot and humid conditions of the sub-continent. And now that India has set up a RD-33 Series 3 production line as well as MiG spares depot, the issue of supporting the Fulcrums for another 2 decades should hopefully not run into troubles related to want of spares from Russia.

    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.
    When you talk about "becoming integrated on NATO aircraft" and AIM-9X (only on the most recent F-16 and F-18s) then you should talk about the MiG-29K and MiG-35 as well as the upgraded IAF MiG-29UPG. All these will have a modern HMDS (Thales TopOwl-F) and the MiG-35 will get the R-74 missile, an upgrade to the R-73. Plus, the radar isn't the N011 but the Zhuk ME. the MiG-29K has the Zhuk-ME, the MiG-29UPG has the Zhuk-ME2 and the MiG-35 will get the AESA Zhuk-AE. so the "archaic radar" is an issue only with the non-upgraded Fulcrums that will remain in service worldwide. Upgraded and newer MiG-29 variants do not have any of the issues that you just described relating to avionics, weapons, radar, MMI, etc.

    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.
    upgrades to the Fulcrums systems will allow it to be used as any contemporary western fighter. All the stuff that you describe doesn't apply anymore..looks like you've read books from the early 1990s describing the issues with the Fulcrum but you haven't kept pace with the more recent development of the Fulcrums. In IAF service at least, the Fulcrum will see its full potential being exploited.
    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.
    nonsense. Just absurd nonsense. the SMT upgrade that was available for export itself tackled most of the MiG-29's issues and the variants that we now see have none of the troubles that you describe. The cost of upgrading vanilla Fulcrums to the MiG-29UPG level for the IAF cost them just $13-14 million a piece, which is a bargain considering how intensive the upgrade is. Compare that to the cost of their Mirage-2000 upgrade and it was more than twice that price. For that you're getting a fighter with all-new avionics, radar, increased internal fuel, new engines, airframe overhaul and ability to be a true multi-role fighter.

  2. #32
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    vanir;1591981]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.
    Your post has several flaws.. As of today RuAF operate two squadron of SMT.

    The SM Flanker upgrade is finished, been a while too..(three-four squadrons)
    The Su-34 are beeing produced now, and the Su-35S will start up late this year or next year.
    "On 18 August 2009, the Russian Government signed a contract for 48 Su-35BM, 4 Su-30M2 and 12 Su-27SM's at the MAKS-2009 air show."


    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.
    Yes, the SMTs + a few other units with the lowest hour service left.


    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.
    Funny it wasn't addressed in this article..:

    http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/sho...5&postcount=24

    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.
    If the Fulcrum has better nose point authority vs a F-16C Block 30 how would you go about explaining the F-18 can overturn the Fulcrum?
    And the fact that it has analouge FCS doesn't mean its a drawback. Its both give and take here. Read the article and what the F-16 pilot says..
    Oh and the Block 30 also has analouge FCS, still the pilot prefers it over the Block 40

    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).
    Do you have any meaningfull numbers that supports your "terrifically expensive Flanker"?

    The older Su-27 may not be the cheapest fighter around to operate, but Soviet nd Russia does operate them with their own cost figures.
    It can't be compaired directly with western airforces, sinse the labour sallaries are much lower in Russia.

    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).
    Russia may have detuned Flankers earlier in the troublesome 90s.
    But these days with the newer Salut AL-31FM1 with 13.500kgf. its nothing of the sort..

    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).
    Yes the Block 40 has much better systems, but it also have a nice weight gain from the Block 30
    Last edited by haavarla; 8th June 2010 at 20:30.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kramer View Post
    Su-30MKK is a Chinese variant. What has that got to do with the Kremlin's budget ? Anyway, MiG has a large (nearly $1 billion) order for the upgrade to 65 IAF MiG-29s to the SMT level, so an IAF customised SMT based upgrade will enter service.
    Russia has ordered 4 Su-30M2 as part of the 2.5 bln $ package contracted in August 2009. While the M2 hasn't been specified it's reasonable to assume that it is basically a Su-30MK2 which is on its side a slightly modified Su-30MKK.
    I wouldn't really describe the IAFs MiG-20UPG as SMT like, it's different in many ways.

    If those issues would be taken care of, you have a potent fighter because the MiG-29's airframe, handling and maneuverability are never its weak points.
    The handling qualities of the original MiG-29 were bad in comparison to FBW equipped western fighters, but these issues are settled now with digital FBW being integrated into the latest variants.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion82 View Post
    The handling qualities of the original MiG-29 were bad in comparison to FBW equipped western fighters, but these issues are settled now with digital FBW being integrated into the latest variants.
    I don't know what handling qualities you're talking about. the IAF conducted DACT between MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s and the MiG-29s basically trumped them in pretty much every way maneuverability and performance wise despite being a non-FBW fighter facing off against a FBW controlled fighter. I can post an article by Air Marshal Harish Masand who was CO of the MiG-29 squadron that participated in the DACT.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kramer View Post
    I don't know what handling qualities you're talking about. the IAF conducted DACT between MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s and the MiG-29s basically trumped them in pretty much every way maneuverability and performance wise despite being a non-FBW fighter facing off against a FBW controlled fighter. I can post an article by Air Marshal Harish Masand who was CO of the MiG-29 squadron that participated in the DACT.
    You speak about flight performance here, I spoke about handling which you mentioned in your previous post.
    The mechanical FCS of the older Fulcrums meant that the aircraft was more difficult to fly. While its excellent aerodynamics at that time made it difficult to depart the aircraft, the MiG pilot must be more careful when flying his aircraft to its limits. FBW systems also provide more precise control and auto trimming, which isn't the case for the MiG-29s mechanical FCS. This increases the pilots workload and subsequently substracts from his SA. That the MiG-29 performs well is out of question.

  6. #36
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    I have never come across any thing ( spoke to couple of Mig-29 pilots ) where they did not mentioned it was a difficult to fly aircraft because it has mechnical FCS , on the contrary I have heard then saying it was fun to fly the Mig-29

    Considering the role that they played which was just pure air defence it perhaps did not matter.

    But the newer series if 29 performs multirole/multi task where digital FBW and softcontrol provides carefree handling and they can focus on the varied task at hand.

    So the notion that the old Mig-29 was difficult to is a Western propogated myth at the same time the Mig-29 did not perform any thing other then pure AD role.
    "A map does you no good if you don't know where you are"

  7. #37
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    Up to you fellers, but I'd prefer discussion without itemised quoting, as I can scroll back over my own messages if I suddenly turn senile and it seems less like trolling and more like independent discussion without itemised quoting.

    This way we can separate those individuals who just marque point by point what someone said and argue with that, instead of having some opinion/discussion about what they were referring to/talking about, which is more like mature discussion.

    I quite like a discussion forum but got the sudden impression I might've signed onto a troll forum, I hope I'm wrong since it's such a common thing on the web it's not even interesting anymore.

    Okay, yes above I was talking about Fulcrum engines and typo'd Flanker. The RD-33 have a design issue, as someone mentioned this is a matter of give and take. Essentially in the class of the F404 it has a neat afterburner setup (which would be the reason for its rather unusual looking nozzle), in augumentation however it goes through fuel like a sieve. It's also the cause of very high temperatures aft of the chamber and as mentioned according to flight mechanic description (a Rumanian iirc), TBO really meant scrapping unless you had a lot of new parts from a consistent Russian supplier, placing the RD-33 (those in current service) at least among export operators in the class of updated Foxbats in terms of operational service life with little expenditure. The Luftwaffe hot-end kit increases TBO from 800 to 1200hrs but this is in conjuction with detuning to 404GE-402 class. Overall design engine life is around 2000hrs before replacement.
    The RD-33K squeezes roughly 4% thrust increase with a higher airflow and associated increased entry temp, it's going to have a lower overall service life than the standard engine (I'm surprised the TBO is the same).

    Once again the German kit was built by an operator accustomed to NATO export models which are meant to last in the field with only periodic update packages and general maintenance routines. The Fulcrum design reflected in its engines is meant for advance bases of a major power with an active support infrastructure and high maintenance routines. It was never designed with export in mind, it was designed for home use by the Cold War USSR. This means you could afford to take compromises to return a higher augumented thrust proportionate to dry operation than comparable engines in service elsewhere.

    Also the engine design itself is optimised for medium alt over low alt best operation, where Hornets/Vipers perform exceptionally at low alt. In western terms the problem here is that right at the altitude the Fulcrum starts coming into its own, it walks into the realm of the Flanker anyway.
    Truth be told however the VVS/PVO/AV-MF was never set up that way and Fulcrums wouldn't often be in the same combat area as Flankers. More recently things are increasingly centralised in Russia/CIS (journalists call it "becoming NATO-ised"), but that wasn't the case when the Fulcrum/RD-33 was designed.
    Trying to convert the Fulcrum into a hi-lo coordinated deployment equivalent to the Viper/Eagle is an ad hoc adaptation for which the inherent design isn't really well suited, whilst completely redesigning the equipment installation for the type as the SMT/K/whatever isn't quite as good an option of either putting a whole new type in production using different engine/airframe combination or just purchasing some Block 50 Vipers. In any case I don't think we're going to see any operator of the Fulcrum using it in the hi-lo USAF air combat doctrine.
    So a mid range all rounder is what it is. Not quite as good as a Viper on the deck, shouldn't try to mimic an Eagle on the deck, but equal or superior to most at medium altitude, and then inferior to dedicated air superiority aircraft like the Flanker or Eagle at high altitudes. Most of the time it does okay, but it's not meant for the hi-lo Viper/Eagle type of doctrine in conjunction with Flankers, it's meant for independent operation well within an EWR network, over short ranges from advance bases.

    Upgrades in proposal stage and phantom variants or concept demonstrators I have no interest in unless we want to start talking about the Aurora x-plane and lightsabres or whatever. A good upgrade for the Fulcrum-C fleet, aside from full FBW integration would be a completely different engine option with much better efficiency and service life potential (I'll call western experience with Fulcrums "potential" because it departs MAPO marketing claims), but this would mean of course less performance. Kind of like the German attempt to make the RD-33 give a decent service life without a consuming parts like a trash compactor.

    The IAF Fulcrum fleet serviceability rate is universally recognised as poor whilst the German Fulcrums managed only 50% serviceability for the year 1992 when the aircraft equipped were only five years old. The IAF also reported double the projected accident rate according to MAPO for the year 1992 (often due to engine failure, despite common belief the Fulcrum is not at all easily flyable on one engine), again with individual aircraft only five years old at most. Serviceability and accident rates (due to engine failure) have remarkable similarity throughout Fulcrum operators, all understated by at least 50% in MiG-MAPO marketing claims.


    As for my citing Flanker expense, it's made out of something like 65% titanium, in what universe is a Flanker not inherently expensive? It is cheaper than US contemporaries but is less sophisticated. Again I'm not interested in phantom variants, speaking in terms of anything actually put in service. IAF Su-30MKI is less sophisticated overall than USAF F-22A, its contemporary; Su-27S is less sophisticated than F-15C, its contemporary. The Flankers have awesome airframe performance aspects though. In any case they are not inexpensive aircraft to purchase or produce, despite being cheaper than the model contemporary flyaway price in the US (who also have cost recovery agendas to consider, hard to believe but I think they rip people off a little like car salesmen).

    As Scorpion suggested, there are so very many Flanker variant proposals, revisions of proposals, and proposals of proposals that it is easiest to view simply the ones in service and consider them the existing variants, rather thinking of the "no-suffix" and M/MK, MKI, MKK, MKM as like A, B, C-1, C-2, C-3 variants etc. The layout of the current upgrade being paid for by the RuAF is closest to the MKK afaik and it's a nice way to describe what it is, despite Sukhoi listings the twice revised M2 (M2 plus second ammendment, post-development, preproduction series 2b but only at the KnAAPO plant and series 1-3616 at Irtrusk or whatever this particular Su-30M update is fully labelled) has optional vectoring thrust and normally-shipboard-gigantonormous cruise missile capability, well if those things were actually ordered and were going to be installed.
    It has optional laser guns and proposed little green men.

    It's an MKK for the RuAF as the simplest way to describe the upgrade, from what I can tell, or that is as Scorpion said the MK2 evolution of the MKK which is an MK for China (K) in the second revision MK2 to bring parity for older Russian service models with current exports MK, making it a revision of the M and thus an M2, most closely resembling the equipment/layout of the MKK in the second revision (excepting only transponder codes afaik).

    In other words I'd like to send Sukhoi OKB to the Gulags for being pointlessly confusing.


    The nose directional authority of the Fulcrum is little more than a roundabout way of talking about the "stability enhancement override" the MiG has because of its limited flight control interpretation, which FBW systems do not have. The automatic AoA limiter virtually all modern warplanes have can be overridden in the MiG by essentially switching off the limited flight control system it has, which isn't a fatal thing to do unlike most FBW modern aircraft (the sole exception would be the Mirage 2000, which is also still flyable without a control system just not particularly nice).
    This ability to make the plane do what you want it to despite the flight computer, in terms of sustaining AoA is certainly quite some nose authority to have.

    It's not the same thing as sustained manoeuvrability, turn capabilities by speed, acceleration and speed performance by altitude. Compared to even the Block 40 F-16 (considered the Fulcrum's main contemporary by production timescales) the MiG loses momentum in sustained manoeuvres, can't keep up in acceleration or speed at low altitude (unless F-16 has PW engine prior to block 52) and can't match its turn capabilities above 0.85 Mach clean.
    It is also far more restricted by external tankage especially in the Fulcrum-A (which can't even fire the gun with a centreline tank unless modified by the Germans but the 9-13 fixes this). This is very bad news because its range is so bad unless cruise performance is constantly maintained.

    Here's a nice review posted directly to the internet at F-16.net by the author (instructor at USAF fighter weapons school) and reposted by another member. Scroll to four posts down.
    http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewt...-start-30.html

    I also have a hard copy of Köck's evaluation given to Jon Lake in interview.
    The cited problems with the Fulcrum include:
    ...navigation system is unreliable without TACAN updates and is not very accurate (I'd prefer to call it an estimation system). It requires triangulation from three TACAN stations and if you lose one you effectively lose the system. We can only enter three fixed waypoints, which is inadequate. For communications we have only one VHF/UHF radio.
    The radar is at least a generation behind AN/APG-65...it has poor displays, giving poor situational awareness and this is complicated by the cockpit ergonomics. The radar has reliability problems and lookdown/shootdown problems. There is poor discrimination between targets and we can't lock onto a target in trail, only in lead.
    Naturally Köck has a better review of the Fulcrum's dogfight capabilities, although as I've said this is a parity with modern western fighters and not a superiority without the Archer/HMTD system in conjunction with EOS (IRST, which has better target track/lock than the radar). It was this novel weapon/helmet-sight and the electro-optical IRST that made the Fulcrum "unbeatable" inside of 2 miles, not the airframe performance which is a parity and has some marked design limitations modern western fighters don't.
    But when all is said and done the MiG-29 is a superb fighter for close-combat, even compared with aircraft like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18. This is due to the aircraft's superb aerodynamics and helmet mounted sight. Inside ten nautical miles I'm hard to beat, and with the IRST, helmet mounted sight and Archer I can't be beaten. Period. Even against the latest Block 50 F-16 the MiG-29 is virtually invulnerable in the close in scenario. On one occasion I remember the F-16s did score some kills eventually, but only after taking 18 Archers. We didn't operate "kill removal" since they'd have got no training value, we killed them too quickly.
    Yet at the same time we have an experienced Eagle, Viper and Fulcrum pilot with the USAF explaining the Eagle for example can sustain a better high g turn at low alt if the MiG makes the mistake of trying to mirror his moves. However the same scenario at medium alt is reversed and the MiG is more agile in thin air.

    So keeping in mind the Viper/Hornet are optimised for low alt high performance, the Fulcrum by comparison is obviously meant to bridge the gap between the hi-lo USAF/NATO doctrine of matching larger numbers of Vipers with smaller numbers of Eagles. The Fulcrum would be typically used in the combat zone without the presence of the Flanker, so has to combat both these types. And the Soviet approach to this was numerical superiority at the cost of complexity and high all round performance at the cost of longevity, being overall a most importantly affordable package which is relatively easy to produce.

    These kind of design requirements aren't that of a NATO export fighter like the F-16 or Hornet, where sophistication is thought of as lethality, whilst affordability is measured in terms of air superiority models and ease of production isn't really much of an issue. Meanwhile design life and individual airframe/equipment longevity is a primary requirement, most particularly for the export market. In fact the LFX and Navy's Phantom replacement project both stipulated export suitability and sustained independent operations (longevity) in the engineering requirements.

    The Flanker design approaches these requirements far closer than the Fulcrum, which isn't really in the same class. It's a very specialised Cold War general fighter, with very short range, low serviceability and a limited service life.

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    I wouldn't really describe the IAFs MiG-29UPG as SMT like, it's different in many ways
    Its better and more comprehensive than the SMT is it not ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    So the notion that the old Mig-29 was difficult to is a Western propogated myth at the same time the Mig-29 did not perform any thing other then pure AD role.
    It was propogated by folks that had flown Western aircraft as well, and were used to the ergonomic advantages. Why do you think the newer Russian designs are putting so much effort into more ergonomic cockpits, and FCS? If there wasn't any disadvantages to the way they had done things in the past, there wouldn't be the need to correct the deficiencies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightwing View Post
    It was propogated by folks that had flown Western aircraft as well, and were used to the ergonomic advantages. Why do you think the newer Russian designs are putting so much effort into more ergonomic cockpits, and FCS? If there wasn't any disadvantages to the way they had done things in the past, there wouldn't be the need to correct the deficiencies.
    It is true that it was propogated by Western folks because they viewed things in a way they thought was the best way to do.

    Much like try to put in a Russian pilot in a F-16 and he would have his own fair share of complains , because in his view the Mig-29 had a better way to do the job.

    The good old Mig-29 did not do any thing more then AD task ( may be if required do the mundane task of dropping a dumb bomb over a target ) and for that task the flying qualities and FCS was considered quite good both to fly and fight without much workload on the pilot , the IAF pilot I spoke to mentioned it was fun to fly.

    Now I can agree on the part where some one would complain it could have a radar with better TWS capability and multiple target lock capability , could have had better non smoky engine with much better TBO , that criticism is quite valid.

    But it is purely a western propaganda that it was difficult to fly that bird , the old Mig-29 can fly and fight both and in word of IAF pilot it was fun to do both and the pilots always loved to fly the Mig-29.

    The modern Mig-29 does more than AD task , it has multirole capability and can do ground attack and A2A role , EW,Datalink ,handling Multirole missile etc for which it does need many things automated and a much better MMI which is does provide in Mig-29K,Mig-35 and Mig-29SMT.
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    I think you're misunderstanding what they meant by "fly" though. Fly in the context they're using means "in combat." The number of steps to conduct an A2A engagement in the Fulcrum due to the cockpit layout(not to mention the reduction in situational awareness due to having to spend more time looking down) made it a far more taxing plane to fight with. If it survived a BVR engagement, then yes it was very effective close in, which is why an astute opponent wouldn't let the Fulcrum pilot dictate the terms of engagement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightwing View Post
    I think you're misunderstanding what they meant by "fly" though. Fly in the context they're using means "in combat." The number of steps to conduct an A2A engagement in the Fulcrum due to the cockpit layout(not to mention the reduction in situational awareness due to having to spend more time looking down) made it a far more taxing plane to fight with. If it survived a BVR engagement, then yes it was very effective close in, which is why an astute opponent wouldn't let the Fulcrum pilot dictate the terms of engagement.
    Why is it that whenever you people speak about MiG-29, you always take the most basic vanilla version? If we want to compare basics, then let us talk about F-16A with Vulcan and Lima Winders. This Viper would die in BVR exactly as quickly as it would die in close-in, simply zero chance to win.

    If you want to speak about F-16C, then take MiG-29M or SMT. And if comparing Block 60 is your goal, then take MiG-35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSphere View Post
    Why is it that whenever you people speak about MiG-29, you always take the most basic vanilla version? If we want to compare basics, then let us talk about F-16A with Vulcan and Lima Winders. This Viper would die in BVR exactly as quickly as it would die in close-in, simply zero chance to win.

    If you want to speak about F-16C, then take MiG-29M or SMT. And if comparing Block 60 is your goal, then take MiG-35.
    Perhaps because a lot of the MiG-29s out there are still basic vanilla versions, but the F-16As have almost all been retired or upgraded.

    BTW, F-16E/Block 60 has been operational for 5 years. Remind me: how many MiG-35s are in squadron service?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSphere View Post
    Why is it that whenever you people speak about MiG-29, you always take the most basic vanilla version?
    People often refer to the most popular versions in service. Besides basic Mig-29 should be compared to F-16C (the same introduction date - 1984).


    Quote Originally Posted by MSphere View Post
    If you want to speak about F-16C, then take MiG-29M or SMT. And if comparing Block 60 is your goal, then take MiG-35.
    F-16C Block 50/52 vs MiG-29M
    F-16C Block 60 is operational but MiG-35 is not.
    I think MiG-29SMT (serial production from 2004) should be compared to F-16E Block60 (first deliveries in 2003 to UAE AF)

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightwing View Post
    I think you're misunderstanding what they meant by "fly" though. Fly in the context they're using means "in combat." The number of steps to conduct an A2A engagement in the Fulcrum due to the cockpit layout(not to mention the reduction in situational awareness due to having to spend more time looking down) made it a far more taxing plane to fight with. If it survived a BVR engagement, then yes it was very effective close in, which is why an astute opponent wouldn't let the Fulcrum pilot dictate the terms of engagement.
    The point being argued is handling, as compared to Western fighters, due to lack of digital FCS etc. The Indian pilots have never complained of its flying qualities.

    I think everyone concedes that the bog standard vanilla MiG-29 was not the most ergonomic design.

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    @Austin,
    difficult to fly might be an unlucky expression. More difficult to fly than contemporary western fighters would be a more appropriate expression. I can well imagine that the MiG-29 is fun to fly, but if a pilot compares its handling characteristics he does so in comparison to what he is used to. That a MiG-29 might be more of a pleasure to fly than a MiG-21 or -23 is quite likely, but in comparison to contemporary western fighters it is more challenging/difficult to fly as western pilots found out and many German MiG-29 pilots had some experience on US teens due exchange tours and there were also Americans for example who have flown the MiG-29 at Laage on exchange tours, which often last a few years.
    Wrightwing puts forward a valid point, if everything would be fine and just a different approach being taken, why do the Russians try to mimic western standards these days?

    @Vanir,
    I don't think that the MiG-29s would have operated only in a Flanker clean area, the PVO had quite a lot Su-27P in the defensive role as well. Russian fighters at that time were mainly made of aluminium alloys and not so much from titan afaik, I don't think the 65% titan figure is correct neither for the Su-27 nor the MiG-29.
    The points you put forward with regards to the MiG-29s strength and weaknesses are in many ways valid. But the MiG isn't at the same state like than. Of course it is true, like exec and swerve pointed out that most of the Fulcrums out there are still vanilla variants suffering from those major weaknesses, but newer variants are available and in service meanwhile and I think it's worth looking at what has been changed and re-evaluate the validity of the claims about this aircraft. In many ways the Russians appear to have learned from the west and try to fix the obvious shortcomings on their designs, the west does the same by (re)introducing IRSTs, HMS/D and HOBS AAM.
    One thing that you note with regards to the Russian engines is that they gained much less thrust in comparison to their American counterparts, but they are closing up in terms of durability. Compare the Al-31F1 with the AL-41F1S for example the engines service life has increased from 100 h to 4000 h. The RD-33MK offers just about 8% more thrust but a significantly longer life time than the earlier version. The F100 gained some 20% more thrust in the mean time, its service life didn't increased by the same pace however. This shows that the Russians have recognised the advantages of longevity, though they are still not on par with the west in that area.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanir
    Up to you fellers, but I'd prefer discussion without itemised quoting, as I can scroll back over my own messages if I suddenly turn senile and it seems less like trolling and more like independent discussion without itemised quoting.

    This way we can separate those individuals who just marque point by point what someone said and argue with that, instead of having some opinion/discussion about what they were referring to/talking about, which is more like mature discussion.

    I quite like a discussion forum but got the sudden impression I might've signed onto a troll forum, I hope I'm wrong since it's such a common thing on the web it's not even interesting anymore.
    itemised quoting is seen on almost all forums and with the kind of long winding posts you make its necessary to discuss it that way. I've never seen anyone complaining about that..makes it easier for others to follow the discussion as well. if you think its trolling, take it up with the moderators. when you make wrong or ignorant claims and then pretend that pointing it out in an itemised way is trolling then one can see that you actually don't have any arguments to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by vanir
    The IAF Fulcrum fleet serviceability rate is universally recognised as poor whilst the German Fulcrums managed only 50% serviceability for the year 1992 when the aircraft equipped were only five years old. The IAF also reported double the projected accident rate according to MAPO for the year 1992 (often due to engine failure, despite common belief the Fulcrum is not at all easily flyable on one engine), again with individual aircraft only five years old at most. Serviceability and accident rates (due to engine failure) have remarkable similarity throughout Fulcrum operators, all understated by at least 50% in MiG-MAPO marketing claims.
    What is your source for the claim that the IAF reported "Double the projected accident rate according to MAPO for the year 1992" ? There was not a single MiG-29 crash in the IAF in the year 1992 as per the [http://www.warbirds.in/Crashes/crpag...F&datesall=ON] Warbirds of India attrition listing[/url]. In fact it wasn't till Feb 1994 that the IAF suffered its first MiG-29 crash when the tail apparently broke off during a 3.5g maneuver. The next IAF MiG-29 crash was in Jan 1997. In all 11 IAF MiG-29s have been lost leaving 62 odd operational.

    What is known is that the MiG-29 fleet had a lot of serviceability issues at the beginning but this had been sorted out in 1994 itself when a joint aviation venture, the Indo-Russian Aviation Private Ltd., in maintenance & support was set up by HAL and MiG-MAPO and the technical problems were rectified to a satisfactory level.
    Your problem is that you're using texts and information dating back to the early 1990s period to basically paint the MiG-29s till now.
    As for my citing Flanker expense, it's made out of something like 65% titanium, in what universe is a Flanker not inherently expensive? It is cheaper than US contemporaries but is less sophisticated. Again I'm not interested in phantom variants, speaking in terms of anything actually put in service. IAF Su-30MKI is less sophisticated overall than USAF F-22A, its contemporary; Su-27S is less sophisticated than F-15C, its contemporary.
    Flanker is easily one of the cheapest fighters for the capabilities it brings along. If you want to compare the Su-30MKI with the F-22 then take into account the cost as well. the Su-30MKI costs somewhere around $45 million per unit, and the F-22 ? Everyone knows it so I won't even mention it since your point is so absurd. An air force would be able to buy nearly 5-6 Su-30MKIs for the price of 1 F-22 and maybe even 2 MKIs for 1 F-15E/K/SG.

    The Flanker design approaches these requirements far closer than the Fulcrum, which isn't really in the same class. It's a very specialised Cold War general fighter, with very short range, low serviceability and a limited service life.
    the Indian Navy's MiG-29Ks have around 5000 hours service life. the MiG-35 being offered to the IAF for the MRCA has a 6000 hours service life, which is in the same ballpark as most western fighters. The things you're talking about are all relating to the MiG-29A from the Soviet days. None of it applies today to the MiG-29's latest variants and this whole talk about "Specialised Cold War general fighter" is non-applicable to modernised and latest variants of the MiG-29. period.

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    Wrightwing puts forward a valid point, if everything would be fine and just a different approach being taken, why do the Russians try to mimic western standards these days?
    1. Since the end of the cold war Russians are in competition with western manufacturers for export orders and to compete they need all the gizmos and gadgets the western fighters have got. During the soviet times the Russian fighters were basically made to fit into their doctrine with extensive input from GCI and the warsaw pact nations had no choice but to buy them.

    2. Russia's air doctrine has itself changed putting more emphasis on multi-role capabilities for which like Austin said the western style cockpits and less cluttered interface/ fbw controls help a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion82 View Post
    @Austin,
    difficult to fly might be an unlucky expression. More difficult to fly than contemporary western fighters would be a more appropriate expression. I can well imagine that the MiG-29 is fun to fly, but if a pilot compares its handling characteristics he does so in comparison to what he is used to. That a MiG-29 might be more of a pleasure to fly than a MiG-21 or -23 is quite likely, but in comparison to contemporary western fighters it is more challenging/difficult to fly as western pilots found out and many German MiG-29 pilots had some experience on US teens due exchange tours and there were also Americans for example who have flown the MiG-29 at Laage on exchange tours, which often last a few years.
    Well if an USAF pilot prefer the F-16C Block 30 to match the Mig-29.
    Then the point that the FCS is so much more easier to handle/operate.. i don't think so.
    A modern FCS handle the aircraft different yes and is 'safer' in a way i think. It 'can' correct the pilot if he mess up etc etc.

    Vanir: Don't confuse the AoA speed limiter and a modern FCS, i'm splitting hair here but its not the same thing!

    Here is what the US F-16C pilots said:

    "DACT
    Fast forward many year to the best deployment i have ever had the opertunity to tag along on: two weeks of DACT with the Bulgarian AirForce Mig-29s!
    In my personal view i have the best fighter short of the F-22 thats in our inventory, to fight this Mig in a visual fight- namly the F-16C Block 30.
    Why?
    The F-16 have evolved significantly since the first flew in 1972. Some are good and some are not so good in my opinion. The different Blocks the USAF has flown over the years included the older F-16A/B that comprised the Block 5, 10, 15, and 20. These where great fighters, with an analogue flight control system, a light nose feel, but still not enough thrust to sustain a level turn of some of the newer models!

    The Block 30 F-16C is my personal favorite out of many Blocks i have flown, for one reason: its THE best machine for visual range fights! It has the extreemly powerful GE110 engine crankin out 28,000Ibs(125kgN) of thrust and it has the analouge flight control system. The Block 40 and 50 are heavier and both have the digital flight control system. The Block 50 has a larger engine so the thrust/weight are pretty close to the Block 30. But the Analogue flight system feels lighter and allows you to get closer to maximum Angle of Attack(AoA) faster in my expirience and bounce off the limits if you ever need it.
    Conversely, it allows you to cross the line to go out of control faster if you hand ham it too.
    It also feels smoother under G while you are trying to gun someone without the 'ratchety' feel of the digital flight control system that you get when you slow and 'honking' on the stick. In short it is a great jet to tangle with a Mig-29 and see how it worked out.

    The DACT mission we flew with and against the NATO brothers in-arms of the BuAF were set to compare our training doctrine with theirs. The Bulgarian Air Force has a proud tradision going way back to 1912.
    We were soon given the academics on how we fight western style within visual range manoeuvring. And they were doing the very same for us, passing along their own techniques developed indipendently in thir Air Force, and some from being former members of the Soviets circle of friends flying their equipment."


    http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/sho...5&postcount=24
    Last edited by haavarla; 9th June 2010 at 19:06.

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    @Haarvala,
    the F-16 is a FBW aircraft in any variant, the MiG-29 is not. A good enough trained pilot who knows his aircraft might actually benefit from the AoA override in the Fulcrum in comparison to an F-16 wihtout such ability, though the older analogue FBW allowed to exceed the softlimit in some situation what is even less the case in the newer models (blk 40+).

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    Quote Originally Posted by exec View Post
    People often refer to the most popular versions in service. Besides basic Mig-29 should be compared to F-16C (the same introduction date - 1984).
    I never was a fan of comparisons according to date of introduction. For me it's MiG-29A --> F-16A --> Mirage 2000C and MiG-29M --> F-16C --> Mirage 2000-5, regardless of introduction date.

    Quote Originally Posted by exec View Post
    F-16C Block 50/52 vs MiG-29M
    F-16C Block 60 is operational but MiG-35 is not.
    I think MiG-29SMT (serial production from 2004) should be compared to F-16E Block60 (first deliveries in 2003 to UAE AF)
    Block 60 only is operational because UAE decided so and paid for that. Same for Mirage 2000-9 or Su-30MKI. Kinda question of luck of finding a sponsor.

    As I said, the time scale comparisons don't make much sense to me, especially if new Block 50s (in fact early 90s era aircraft) are being ordered even as late as 2010. I see a big difference between buying a MiG-29A for $11mil and F-16C Block 30 for $30mil even if they come from the same year.

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    @MSpehere,
    it's apples and oranges to compare aircraft of different times and it makes much more sense to compare what is available at one time. When the F-16 blk 60 was contracted for development the MiG-35 was not even on the drawing boards. The F-16 blk 60 may be operated by the UAE only, but with 80 airframes being delivered there're more blk 60 in service than advanced Fulcrum variants (MiG-29SMT & K/KUB) in total. The MiG-35 won't be available for another 3 years or more, if it ever enters service. If the F-16 doesn't evolve past the blk 60 while the MiG-35 enters service you have a point, until then you have to live with the fact that the F-16 blk 60 is in service, while the MiG-35 isn't. And btw the blk 50 of today is not the same as the blk 50 1991.

  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSphere View Post
    I never was a fan of comparisons according to date of introduction. For me it's MiG-29A --> F-16A --> Mirage 2000C and MiG-29M --> F-16C --> Mirage 2000-5, regardless of introduction date.
    So, how should we compare them? Price-based comparison?


    Quote Originally Posted by MSphere View Post
    I see a big difference between buying a MiG-29A for $11mil and F-16C Block 30 for $30mil even if they come from the same year.
    F-16C/D cost was 18.6 mil $ (1998 $) = ~25 mil 2010 dollars.
    Poland paid ~42-44 mil for a Block 52+.
    Myanmar paid 28.5 mil for MiG-29A in 2009.

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    @Exec,
    the question is what is contained in these cost figures. Afaik Myanmar received used examples. It's reasonable to assume that this cost figure includes more than the aircraft itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion82 View Post
    @MSpehere,
    it's apples and oranges to compare aircraft of different times and it makes much more sense to compare what is available at one time.
    In my opinion it doesn't make any sense to take some hypothetical would-have-been-scenarios from 1984 or highlight drawbacks that were solved decades ago. We have 2010 now but we still get to hear the same crap about ejecting Fulcrum's cannon shells vs centreline fuel tank. This problem is roughly as actual as early issues with Westinghouse APG-66.. And while I am sure that Bulgarian Fulcrums still cannot fire the cannon with the tank carried, Pakistani or Indonesian F-16s, too, still have AN/APG-66. I mean, who cares?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion82 View Post
    When the F-16 blk 60 was contracted for development the MiG-35 was not even on the drawing boards. The F-16 blk 60 may be operated by the UAE only, but with 80 airframes being delivered there're more blk 60 in service than advanced Fulcrum variants (MiG-29SMT & K/KUB) in total. The MiG-35 won't be available for another 3 years or more, if it ever enters service. If the F-16 doesn't evolve past the blk 60 while the MiG-35 enters service you have a point, until then you have to live with the fact that the F-16 blk 60 is in service, while the MiG-35 isn't. And btw the blk 50 of today is not the same as the blk 50 1991.
    As I said, it's only a matter of luck/marketing. If UAE has gone for Tier I force and chose F-15 instead (like Singapore), then nothing like F-16 Block 60 would even exist.

    Fulcrum had the bad luck of Su-27 series being comparably affordable, therefore its evolution was by far not that rapid than all those Su-30MKx/Su-35 series. If there was a similar vendor like UAE, then MiG-35 would have been in service years ago, most probably equipped with PESA type like Zhuk-MFE.
    Last edited by MSphere; 9th June 2010 at 23:31.

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    How about a comparison of a typical USAF F-16 vs. a typical Mig-29 in any other air force?

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    Quote Originally Posted by exec View Post
    So, how should we compare them? Price-based comparison?
    Overall comparison. Performance, cost, availability, growth potential.. Claims in style "Fulcrum sucks because in 1993 USAF already had F-16 Block 50 and Russians were still stuck with the old 9.13s" doesn't make any sense. Russian were economically far worse off at that time than Greece is today, who could blame them that they didn't buy new aircraft?

    Quote Originally Posted by exec View Post
    F-16C/D cost was 18.6 mil $ (1998 $) = ~25 mil 2010 dollars. Poland paid ~42-44 mil for a Block 52+.
    Myanmar paid 28.5 mil for MiG-29A in 2009.
    Poland paid $4.7 billion for 48 F-16s. The actual selling price was $3.5 billion with $1.2 billion interest. The supplied weaponry would comprise ca $600-700 mil from that price.

    Moroccan deal for 24 F-16C/D was valued at up to $2.6 billion, with bulk price of the fighters alone valued at $841.9 million. That makes $35mil pure airframe cost, which is exactly what a brand new IAPO-built Su-30MKI costs in bulk.

    Yemen paid $1.3 billion for 32 MiG-29SMTs. The cancelled Algerian MiG-29SMT/MiG-29UBT (28+6) deal was $1.5 billion. All these deals were incl. support, spares and weaponry, although likely not in the extent of the mentioned F-16 deals.

    While we are lacking deeper details, we could roughly say that Russians offer complete packages for the price Americans offer bulk aircraft. For comparable packages, US aircraft are roughly twice as expensive.

    ----

    Myanmarese MiG-29As were delivered in 2001. Those ordered in 2009 are SMTs, not As, 20 aircraft+spares+weapons for $570 million.
    Last edited by MSphere; 10th June 2010 at 00:37.

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    @ Scorpion, agreed but I do hold reservations about technology demonstrators and marketing proposals being regarded as front line service aircraft for comparative purposes. There is no current plans to upgrade the RuAF MiG fleet, though the suggestion has been tossed back and forth for years, at this point it is still deferred for Flanker upgrades and left in the air. India appears the only operator even interested in keeping their fleet in the air. This is current.

    The Fulcrum structure is by weight around 65% aluminium-alloys on the airfoils and the rest composites with a steel fuselage box (for ease of production).
    By comparison the Flanker is mostly titanium structure with alloys and no composites (a roughly similar airframe construction to the Tomcat probably with similar tolerances). Thus the bulk of the production cost of a Flanker as compared to the MiG is the titanium, the industrial use of which the Russians had come a very long way in the 80's.
    Titanium isn't really better than aircraft quality metal alloys at normal speeds (through to 2.5M), but the bonus is it's much much lighter so the Flanker ca.22 ton take off weight is deceiving for its size and complexity as an air superiority style type, returning the extremely impressive ca.120kg/kN power loading (helps that awesome low speed handling).

    The newer proposals from Sukhoi (from 35S to Berkut and Pak) are listed by the company as up to 70% titanium structure. You might think of it as the way US "teen fighters" have composites as their defining feature, in the same way the Flanker is defined by a titanium structure (awesome time to altitude rates, etc.). Composites do give different characteristics however (better integrity but less flex), so mostly composite structures like the popular US fighters are noted for extremely high g manoeuvres in thick air at any speed, the relatively high alloys/titanium content of the Russian fighters by comparison perform equally well under most conditions, are better suited to high Mach operation (an emphasis probably gained from their 60-70's design doctrine and thus production/operator experience), but for the Fulcrum the main emphasis is production ease and for the Flanker it is time to altitude and other balls out performance marques.

    Hey I love the Fulcrum, it's a great aircraft. I just don't think it is suited to the mission doctrine of US export fighters and is better suited to a large air force with a licensed plant and dedicated infrastructure supporting their service life and maintenance. India can probably pull this off better than anyone, so for them the Fulcrum is a great, deadly fighter, in any FBW form it's contemporary with western models under those support conditions, albeit savings in outlay is offset by operational costs totalled.

    I also love the Flogger-K, that Russian-only final MiG-23 variant could out-accelerate any F-16 block in service at the time did you know? It's one of the few fighters which routinely achieved advertised performance in service, loaded which makes it almost a Mach faster than just about anything else around.
    If there's one thing the Russians do well it's upper envelope performance in the field.

    Myself, I voted for Flankers for the RAAF over JSF/SuperHornet. I think some MKI spec Su-27/30 would've been perfect for us, except the conversion for our semi-NATO role and certain associated details were prohibitive. One of the most important things about using RuAF models is they are awesome and contemporary aircraft but only if you use them like the Russians do, which is how they were designed to be used. Using them in NATO doctrine takes away some of their benefits, and puts them against aircraft that were specifically designed to make use of NATO doctrine. It's an administrative effort to stack the cards against yourself.

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    MS: yes, but look at Russian and American 'packages'. Russian package often iclude aircrafts+some weapons+support.
    For example package for Poland included:
    Pilot training:
    -language training - 6 months
    - training on T-38 in USA - 7 months
    - training on F-16 in USA - ~9months
    Training for 270 specialists (technicians and so on)
    Airfields modifications + flight simulators.
    Spare parts.
    Lots of weapons:
    -AIM-120C-5
    -AIM-9X (plus JHMCS)
    -AIM-65G2
    -AGM-154C JSOW
    -JDAM
    -MK84&82
    -Paveway II&III
    Equipment:
    -Sniper XR
    -Recon pods DB-110
    -CFT
    -ALQ-211(v)4
    -ALE-50 towed decoys

    Cost per aircraft was 42 mil.
    Last edited by exec; 10th June 2010 at 08:11.

  30. #60
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by exec View Post
    MS: yes, but look at Russian and American 'packages'. Russian package often iclude aircrafts+some weapons+support.
    For example package for Poland included:
    ...
    Cost per aircraft was 42 mil.
    It's only up to the customer what he orders. Poland ordered equipment worth $700mil because they had zero stuff to hang on their Vipers since everything they had left was ex-Soviet. They also had a quite expensive support package because they needed to re-train the personnel for different standards. That's well known...

    But still - $42mil for a bulk F-16C without anything is damn much. On top of that, add additional almost $15mil interest rate. That's makes the purchase a daylight robbery.

    Plus despite the claims of "combat proven" stuff it seems that the readiness rate of their Vipers is pretty poor. Quite frankly, probably the most incompetent deal I have seen recently.

    ----

    Regarding the packages, unfortunately, I am missing details regarding Yemeni deal. All we know is that Yemeni deal also included weapons, as YAF became the launch customer for the CNIRTI MSP-418K underwing G-J band jammer pod. But how many were delivered, what other weapons were ordered and how did the training package look like remains a mystery.
    Last edited by MSphere; 10th June 2010 at 10:02.

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