MiG-29 Fulcrum Program
Fighter MiG-29 is and remains among the most common modern combat aircraft in the world. The history of the MiG-29 is big. During the years of production, 1600 MiG-29 units were produced. As of 2015, approximately 270 fighters were operating in the Russian Air Force , the Russian Navy had an additional 40 fighters. The MiG-29 fighter had been in service with both former Soviet allies and NATO countries. The MiG-29 fighter sold quite well abroad.
The first works on the creation of 4th generation fighters began in the USSR and the USA in the late 1960s. Having been armed with quite effective MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighters, the USSR was not in a hurry to create a replacement for them, however, the detail obtained by the intelligence of the American FX program, the brainchild of which was McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, forced the country to reconsider its plans. The MiG-21 was fast, but inferior in range and armaments, and the MiG-23 flew farther, but was not too maneuverable. As a result, in 1969, a competition was initiated for the creation of a PFI (a promising front-line fighter), in which the offices of Mikoyan and Gurevich, Sukhoi and Yakovlev participated. The contest was won by the OKB MiG.
However, in the course of development, it became clear that making an absolutely universal aircraft was too difficult and expensive. It was decided to divide the TFI program into two: LPFI (light), in which the MiG design bureau was engaged, and TPFI (heavy) for which the Sukhoi design bureau was taken. The result of the LPPI was the MiG-29, and the TPPI, respectively, of the Su-27.
Under the leadership of General Designer R.A. Belyakov and chief designer M.R. Waldenberg worked through several configurations of the LPPI, all projects involved the development of a twin-engine aircraft. The final version adopted for full-scale design was very different from all previously built MiG aircraft. The aircraft received the designation MiG-29, or, according to the classification of the Design Bureau, “product 9”.
The design of such a fighter, which received the designation “product 9-12”, was taken up by the Separate design bureau of the Zenit Moscow Machine-Building Plant (now the Engineering Center of the AI Mikoyan Design Bureau, RSK MiG JSC). In the Mikoyan Design Bureau, the work on the “theme 9” (the so-called creation of the “light fighter” was called) was conducted first under the leadership of Alexander Chumachenko, and since 1982 - Mikhail Waldenberg. General coordination was performed by the chief designer of the OKB Rostislav Belyakov. In 1976, a preliminary design was completed and a mock-up of “product 9-12” was made, a year later it was approved by Air Force specialists.
The first flight of the prototype of the “Product 9” - MiG-29A was made on October 6, 1977. Due to delays associated with the loss of two prototypes in accidents, mass production was launched only in 1982 on the basis of the Moscow factory "Banner of Labor." In August 1983, the first serial MiG-29B began to arrive at the Kubinka air base. The machine successfully passed the state acceptance tests in 1984, after which it began to be delivered to front-line aviation units.
After the delivery of the first machines it became clear the distribution of tasks between TFPI and LPFI. The heavy Su-27, having a long range, had an unusual and dangerous task of deep air search and destruction of advanced NATO aircraft, the smaller MiG-29 replaced the MiG-23 in front-line aviation.
The peak of the development work on APF was in the years 1974-1977. In the tests involved 19 prototypes, including two-seater. The first prototype "9-01" was first launched into the air on October 6, 1977 by the senior test pilot of the company A.V. Fedotov. Designed for testing the second ("9-02") and fourth ("9-04") prototypes, both single, crashed on June 15, 1978 and October 31, 1980 - pilots A.V. Fedotov and V.E. Menitsky safely catapulted. The aircraft “product 9-03” became the prototype of the twin-MiG-29UB. The remaining prototypes were used for testing various onboard systems.
On October 6, 1977, the first experimental MiG-29 took off under the control of test pilot Alexander Fedotov. Later, other pilots joined the tests, including Anatoly Kvochur. During the tests, it turned out that the plane had insufficient travel stability, so we had to install the ventral keels. On serial aircraft, starting with the fourth series, instead of installing the ventral carinae, the rudder area was increased (the ventral carinae were not installed). Under the flight test program, 19 prototypes completed about 2,000 flights.
Serial production due to delays caused by the loss of two prototypes, was deployed only in 1982 at the factory number 30 "Banner of Labor", Moscow. In August 1983, the serial MiG-29B began to be supplied to the Kubinka air base. The plane successfully passed the state acceptance in 1984, then began its delivery into service with front-line aviation. By 1985, two air regiments with MiG-29 aircraft were fully equipped.
In September 1988, the aircraft was first unveiled at the Farnborough International Air Show. The public highly appreciated the new aircraft, although it noted the short range with the RD-33 engines, although this can hardly be called a combat flaw. Before that, domestic combat aircraft had never been demonstrated at air shows abroad.
The MiG-29 was actively exported and put into service in many countries. Subsequently, many different modifications of the fighter were developed and produced, including the deck ones. MAPO them. P.V. Dementieva produced approximately 1,200 MiG-29 fighters. In addition, almost 200 MiG-29UB was produced by the plant in Nizhny Novgorod.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent crisis hit the entire Russian aviation and MiG in particular. Undoubtedly, the number of MiG-29s built could have been much larger, but in the 1990s, the Russian Air Force staked on the development of the Su-27. Unlike the Su-27, the MiG-29 was primarily a fighter for gaining air superiority. It could strike ground targets, but these tasks were considered secondary. At the same time, multifunctional aircraft were more in demand on the international market.
The aircraft was used in more than ten military conflicts, beginning with the war in Afghanistan, but one of the most remarkable facts of combat use remains the NATO operation in Yugoslavia. According to the official data of the alliance, for 11 weeks of the operation “Allied Force” combat losses amounted to two aircraft. According to the Ministry of Defense of Yugoslavia, the country's air force and air defense system destroyed 31 aircraft (including one F-117), six helicopters, 11 unmanned aerial vehicles and approximately 40 cruise missiles. The Yugoslav Air Force lost about 11 MiG-29 fighters.
In small batches for export, the MiG-29 were produced in the 1990s and early 2000s. India’s order for the deck version of the MiG-29K helped the enterprise survive. The first flight of this car made in 1988. The aircraft received an infrared direction finder, a new radar, "Zhuk-ME", which allows it to detect targets at a distance of 200 km. In addition, the airframe has been improved, which allows it to carry up to 5.5 tons of combat load. In 2007, the first flight of the double version of the MiG-29KUB fighter.
In 1988, a MiG-29K naval fighter was created specifically for aircraft carriers, a feature of which was the ability to fold wings for compact placement on board. Also, this model was equipped with a hook and had a reinforced chassis for landing on the ship's deck. For the first time the MiG-29K took off from the deck of an aircraft carrier in 1989. In 2016, the 100th shipboard fighter air regiment was formed, equipped with MiG-29K aircraft, which should serve on the Admiral Kuznetsov, the only aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy.
Today, the modernization of the MiG 29 and the production of the MiG-29KUB and MiG-29K is being conducted at the MiG RSK in Lukhovitsy near Moscow. The MiG-29SMT is an effort to turn the aircraft into a full-featured multifunctional machine. Due to additional fuel tanks behind the cockpit and in the tail section, it was possible to increase the flight range by 3.5 times, and the combat load - to 5,500 kg. In addition, underwent a deep modernization and almost the entire "inner filling" of the machine. He also received upgraded RD-33 engines with a deflected thrust vector.
In addition, it is on the MiG-29 that the famous aerobatic team "Swifts" flies . In the future, pilots planned to transfer to MiG-35 aircraft.
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