The MiG-29BM (probably Belorussian Modernised, possibly Bolyshaya Modernizaciya - large modernization) is an upgrade to the MiG-29 conducted by the ARZ-558 aircraft repair plant in Baranovichi, Belarus. The basic MiG-29A has no air-to-ground capability beyond unguided rockets and free-fall iron bombs. The MiG-29BM is a strike variant of the MiG-29 pure fighter, the Belarussian counterpart to the Russian MiG-29SMT. The main lines for modernization of MiG-29 fighters of the air force of Belarus to the level of MiG-29BM are connected with retrofitting of existing equipment and installation of new equipment, significant broadening of the armament range and implementation of aerial refueling system. Some changes were made to the N019 radar and OEPS-29 electro-optical system to improve air-to-ground attack capabilities. This work is being done by the 558th Aviation Repair Plant with participation of Russian Avionics and in interaction with RSK MiG.
First, armament of air-to-air class is supplemented with additional medium-range missiles RVV-AE, R-27ER and R-27ET (previously MiG-29 could use only medium-range missiles R-27R and R-27T, as well as close-range missiles R-73 and R -60M). Second, armament is supplemented with precision-guided weapons for killing of ground (maritime) targets. Among them are missiles KH-29T (TD), KH-29L, KH-25ML, KH-31P and KH-31A, as well as corrected bombs KAB-500Kr and KAB-500L. Overall, MiG-29BM can carry two air-to-surface missiles and two or four corrected bombs. Before adaptation of a special optronic homing pod to the airplane use of weapons with laser semi-active homing heads (KH-29L, KH-25ML and KAB-500L) from MiG-29BM is possible only in case of external target indication.
Third, the radar homing system of modernized fighter MiG-29BM uses a number of new working modes. Modernized radar N019P of this airplane provides for observation of earth and water surface with the detection of single and group, pinpoint and prolonged ground and water-surface radio-contrast targets, the issue of coordinates of discovered targets for formation of target indication and use of new types of guided weapons including air-to-air missiles RVV-AE and anti-ship missiles KH-31A. Fourth, capabilities of the navigation system of the fighter are broadened significantly. New navigation system N-911 includes a navigation computer, a receiver of satellite navigation system GLONASS/NAVSTAR, radio technical system of close-range navigation A-323 and navigation and landing system VOR/ILS and DME.
Another significant difference of MiG-29BM from the series-produced MiG-29 is the implementation of an aerial refueling system. An easily dismantled refueling rod that is not retracted in flight is installed in the nose part of the fuselage on the left side.
Tests of the MiG-29BM (aircraft "9-11") were successfully completed by July 2003, and plant in Baranovichi began the delivery of the first modernized "MiGs" to the Belarus Air Force. A modernised MiG-29BM was on show at the international aviation and space salon MAKS 2005 in Moscow and evoked much interest of representatives of many countries. In 2005 the MiG-29BM set a number of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale records in the Sub-class : C-1i (Landplanes: take off weight 16 000 to 20 000 kg) Group 3 : turbo-jet. By mid-2007 several examples of this aircraft, together with a modernised Su-27UBM which was modernised by the same 558th aircraft repairs plant, were on duty in the Belarusian air fighters fleet.
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