Another direction of MiG-29 family aircraft development is increasing its maneuverability characteristics. Within the frames of this program MiG Corp. presents MiG 29OVT multirole fighter with new all-directional moving nozzle engines, allowing to control the vector of thrust in wide dispersion. This increases the fighter's maneuverability and characteristics in air combat. Besides, MiG-29OVT has increased number of weapons hardpoints by two points for "air-to-air" missiles on the wingtips.
The outstanding feature of the MiG-29OVT multifunctional fighter is the thrust-vector control engine responsible for the aircraft's high maneuverability and the increase of its combat effectiveness if compared with other jets of its class. The RD-33OVT engine of Klimov installed on the Mig-29OVT is 360 degrees adjustable, which outperforms even the AL-31 on the Sukhois. The primary MiG-29M OVT quality is super maneuverability, or the possibility to fly at low, close to zero, speed without angle of attack limitations. This is achieved by thrust vectoring engines (RD-33OVT developed by Klimov plant) and electronic remote control system. Thrust vectoring is provided by three-dimensional nozzles. Thrust vectoring allow the fighter to maneuver with high angular velocities and hard decelerations, assuming practically any angle position unexpected for an attacker.
Essentially MiG-29OVT program is a thrust vectoring technology demonstrator, which will be used in new family of MiG fighters. In particular, future series of MiG-29M and MiG-29M2 will be equipped by engines with similar thrust vectoring system. "Three-dimensional thrust vectoring will make MiG-29M/M2 control more precise and confident, practically independent from the angle of attack, both while performing super maneuverability elements and traditional piloting", notes MiG Corp. Mikoyan Design Bureau Engineering Center director Bladimir Barkovsky. "It will give MiG-29M/M2 serious advantage in dogfight, increasing the piloting safety at critical modes, which will reduce the load on the pilot and allow him to concentrate on combat tasks. New possibilities increase the aircraft combat effectiveness and competitiveness".
At MAKS 2001 a lot of things were unveiled, including the Su-27UB and Su-35UB twinseat multirole fighters, Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-39 attack aircraft upgrades, Su-47 Berkut experimental aircraft, MiG-29M2 twinseat combat aircraft and the MiG-29OVT thrust-vectored prototype. As of 2003 this aircraft was passing through static and flight testing. MiG-29M OVT first flight took place in 2003, and by 2005 the MiG Corp. had practically finished the flight test program. The 7th Moscow International Air Show - MAKS - took place in Zhukovsky, Russia on 16-21 August 2005. The most spectacular episode of the show was a flight demonstration by the MiG-29OVT. The aircraft performed for eight minutes unseen-before aerobatic stunts considered impossible for heavier-than-air craft. The reason is that aircraft with thrust vector control, such as the Russian Su-30MKI and US F-22, are capable of turning the thrust vector in one plane only. The MiG-29OVT is the first aircraft capable of rotating its thrust vector in three planes.
By 2005 the MiG-29M OVT had performed about 50 flights with thrust vectoring; OVT system and its controls are tested, as well as its connection to the aircraft control system, nozzle vectoring mechanics, computer hardware and software. Aerodynamic surfaces control and engine nozzles were integrated into the aircraft control system. Further work was intended to increase the aircraft maneuverability.
The Le Bourget air show in France on June 18-24, 2007, featured an aerobatic team from Russia presenting MiG's multi-role thrust-vectoring fighter, the MiG-29OVT, also designated the MiG-35 Fulcrum F for the export market. Thrust vectoring increases flight maneuverability, allowing the plane to actually dance on its tail. This almost unique characteristic (only Su fighters can also do this) allows the MiG-29OVT to defeat any enemy in close combat. The plane has been entered in a tender against the United States' F-16, Sweden's Gripen and France's Mirage-2000, which will also be presented at Le Bourget, for supplies to India.
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