Your post has several flaws.. As of today RuAF operate two squadron of SMT.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.
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."
Yes, the SMTs + a few other units with the lowest hour service left.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.
Funny it wasn't addressed in this article..: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.
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?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.
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
Do you have any meaningfull numbers that supports your "terrifically expensive Flanker"?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 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.
Russia may have detuned Flankers earlier in the troublesome 90s.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).
But these days with the newer Salut AL-31FM1 with 13.500kgf. its nothing of the sort..
Yes the Block 40 has much better systems, but it also have a nice weight gain from the Block 30The 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).