The basic MiG-29A has no air-to-ground capability beyond unguided rockets and free-fall iron bombs. The SMT upgrade provides a Zhuk radar with air-to-ground modes and the ability to deliver guided munitions. Range was initially a weak point with the MiG-29, and while later versions were modified to carry more fuel, the Russian air force prefered the larger Su-27 and its derivatives. The MiG-29SMT fighter displays a number of essentially new capabilities to effectively destroy both air and ground (sea surface) targets with the use of high-precision "air-to-air" and "air-to-surface" missiles, thus combining the roles of air superiority fighter and strike fighter.
The MiG-29SMT is the up-to-date modification of MiG-29 multirole frontline fighter. The aircraft exhibits a long flight range due to extra capacity of integral fuel tanks and installation of in-flight refueling system (similar to that of the MiG-29SD). The aircraft and engine service life and time limits and design service life have been feasibly increased; the labor requirements and maintenance costs have been reduced.
The MiG-29 evolution program initiated in the late 80-s led to the creation of the aircraft distinguished from the basic version not only by noticeable improvement of the fighter main parameters as a weapons platform-carrier (longer operational range), but also by principally new features.
The most vital feature of this fighter is the capability to effectively operate against air and ground or sea surface targets with the use of high-precision air-to-surface missiles, thus making it a multirole combat aircraft incorporating in one air vehicle the qualities of air superiority fighter and tactical strike aircraft.
The weapon control system of the MiG-29SMT aircraft is built around the ZHUK-ME advanced multimode radar developed by the PHASOTRON-NIIR Moscow-based company. The integrated system incorporates a digital top-level computer system based on the principles of open architecture with use of multiplex data buses, meeting the MIL-STD-1553B requirements, and new information-control system employing full-color large-format liquid-crystal displays, measuring 152 x 203 mm (6 x 8 inch). The displays are developed by the Ramenskoye instruments design bureau (city of Ramenskoye, Moscow region).
The HOTAS concept is fully realized in the MiG-29SMT cockpit; the pilot controls the aircraft, performs targeting and launches weapons without removal of hands from the control stick and throttle control lever.
The MiG-29SMT aircraft six underwing and one ventral store stations can carry up to 5000 kg of external load, including the R-73E agile air-to-air missiles with a combined gas-aerodynamic control system and IR seeker with a wide off-boresight angles range, the RVV-AE medium-range air-to-air missiles with an active radar seeker and the R-27R1/ER1 medium-range air-to-air missiles with a semi-active radar seeker.
In operation against ground and sea surface targets, the MiG-29SMT is able to effectively use contemporary high-precision weapons: the Kh-29T(TE) air-to-surface missiles with a TV seeker, the Kh-31A antiship missiles, the Kh-31P antiradar missiles, the KAB-500KR guided bombs with a TV seeker and powerful warhead.
The upgraded model of batch production MIG-29SMT fighter has an additional two tanks of propellant can cover, without refueling, up to 3,500 kilometers and carry up to 5 tonnes of combat payload. The hatch design compares favorably with that of the predecessor models. The upgraded MIG can be committed to action as a fighter, interceptor, attack, reconnaissance or command post plane. It can, as a command post plane, be acting in contact with A-50 long-range radio detection and control jets. Any kind of Russian- or foreign-made air-to-air and air-to-surface launchers may be mounted aboard this plane.
A new up-to-date cockpit data display and control field, open-architecture airborne equipment complex based on highly effective computing facilities and multiplex communication channels (new navigation, ECM, communication, guidance and data recording systems) can be integrated. The aircraft can be provided with the "Zhuk-M" multimode radar boosting a longer range of air target detection and +/-90° viewing angle in azimuth. The radar is able to track a greater number of targets and engage them simultaneously; scanning in the air-to-surface modes (including those of high resolution) based on indication of moving and sea-surface targets have been incorporated. The weapons mix is widened.
At the buyer's request, radar-absorbent coatings can be applied, Western and national equipment can be installed and number of store stations can be increased. The process of in-service aircraft upgrading up to the MiG-29SMT level has been developed. Works on the aircraft further upgrading are under way.
MiG Corp. has also developed a modular system of MiG-29 upgrading to the MiG 29SMT level. This system is flexible, allowing potential clients to chose the set of aircraft upgrades what they really need. Set of upgrades includes three modules. First module is upgrading the aircraft weapons control system transforming MiG-29 into multirole fighter. A new "Zhuk-ME" radar with a terrain mapping mode is installed. Upgrade of the weapons control system allow to increase considerably the range of "air-to-air" and "air-to-ground" guided and unguided weapons.
While keeping unbeatable air combat characteristics, MiG-29 obtains strike functions, comparable with modern foreign competitors. Second module is increasing internal and drop fuel tanks capacity, upgrading fuel system and installing in-flight refueling equipment, adopted, according to customer's demand, for usage with Russian or foreign tanker aircraft. Third module is upgrading of on-board equipment and installation digital fly-by-wire control system. Pilot's cockpit is equipped with color LCD MFDs, modern flight navigation and communication equipment including satellite navigation of Russian or foreign origin, fully compliant with NATO and ICAO standards.
In case of MiG-29 complete upgrading to MiG-29SMT level the customer receives a generation "4+" level aircraft, close in characteristics and by set of equipment to the newest MiG-29M. It is equal, even superior in some positions, to foreign competitors, able to keep, prior to proper exploitation and maintenance, its combat effectiveness for the next 20 years. And MiG Corp. can make all upgrades on the territory of customer and on its manufacturing facilities.
The MiG-29SMT aircraft features:
- · Longer range and flight endurance;
- · High combat effectiveness;
- · Superb agility;
- · High reliability and flight safety;
- · Easy operation and reduced DOC, up-to-date logistic support;
- · Advanced architecture of cockpit avionics and information control system, HOTAS;
- · Integrated fire-control system consisting of upgraded radar fire-control system built around the ZHUK-ME advanced radar boasting longer operating ranges, multichannel firing and up-to-date air-to-surface modes, and of IR search and track system and helmet-mounted sight;
- · Up-to-date navigation, radio communication, electronic countermeasures, monitoring and recording systems as well as optronic and reconnaissance pods;
- · Modified weapon system including the RVV-AE, R-27ER1, R-27ET1, R-27R1, R-27T1, R-73E air-to-air missiles, the Kh-31A, Kh-31P, Kh-29T (TE), Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles, the KAB-500KR (OD), KAB-500L guided bombs, rockets, free-fall bombs and the GSh-301 built-in gun.
- - the MiG-29 aircraft basic version can be upgraded to the MiG-29SMT level;
- - the upgraded aircraft can be equipped with avionics and armed with weapons of non-Russian origin.
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