|MiG-29M2 at MAKS 2005|
|First flight||26 April 1986|
|Primary user||Russian Air Force|
|Developed from||Mikoyan MiG-29|
|Developed into||Mikoyan MiG-35|
The Mikoyan MiG-29M (Russian: Микоян МиГ-29M; NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-E) is a multirole fighter that was developed as an advanced variant of the MiG-29. Formerly named "MiG-33", it was originally designed by Mikoyan in the Soviet Union during the mid-1980s.
In the mid-1980s, a development of the original MiG-29 was proposed to meet the Soviet western frontline requirement. It was required to be a multirole fighter for the frontline defensive air force to gain offensive strike ability. This development resulted in a single-seat and a two-seat variant. The proposal was then grounded as a result of shifts in military strategy. The model was named "MiG-33" and later received the MiG-29ME designation for the export market in the mid-1990s. A two-seat model of the standard, commonly known as the MiG-29MRCA, was the MAPO-MiG's primary contender for many international fighter aircraft bids, later evolved into the Mikoyan MiG-35. Six of these models were built before 1990. They were constantly upgraded with various components and one received experimental vector thrust engines which eventually became the MiG-29OVT. The model was again renamed as MiG-29M. The MiG-29M/M2 now belongs to the "new unified family" instead of the "MiG-29 fighters family" which comprise the older variants.
During the early 1990s, it became briefly popular for Sukhoi and Mikoyan to assign new designations for upgraded models to make them appear "new and improved" instead of just "improved". The VVS did not accept these marketing designations and most were soon dropped. Following Sukhoi's initiative in this approach, Mikoyan's first such offering was the MiG-29ME, which first publicly appeared as the MiG-33 at the 1994 Farnborough Airshow. The MiG-29ME was the export version of the MiG-29M (Product 9.15) "Super Fulcrum", a comprehensively upgraded, fully multirole version of the MiG-29.
Although the MiG-33 designation was soon dropped, the MiG-29M may have merited a new designation in that it is in many ways a thoroughly redesigned version of the MiG-29. While external differences are few, the MiG-29M was a fully "multifunctional" fighter capable of performing air-to-ground combat with precision-guided munitions (PGMs), along with air-to-air roles of earlier MiG-29 versions. Pilot-aircraft interfaces in the cockpit were also improved and a wide range of new-generation equipment installed. The aircraft's internal fuel capacity was also increased to add combat range.
MiG-29M for Egypt
Egypt's MiG fighter resembles the MiG-35 which was first displayed in Lukhovitsy in January 2017. The Egyptian variant is designated as the MiG-29M (9.41SM) for the single seater, and MiG-29M2 (9.47SM) for the two seater. The fighters are fitted out with latest Russian IRST systems and ECM jamming pods, in addition to upgraded RD-33MK smokeless engines. A proposed modernization is intended to follow in 2020, providing refinements to the airborne radar, software and other avionics.
Egypt's MiG-29M features the OLS-UE IRST system which feeds both TV and IR imagery to the cockpit display and includes a laser rangefinder, unlike previous MiG-29 IRSTs which only feature IR imagery. The fighter will also receive the T220/e targeting pod allowing the utilization of precision-guided munitions, as well as unguided bombs with a low circular error probability. Egypt ordered 40 targeting pods for use on its MiGs.
The MiG-29M/M2 aircraft is a revision of the basic MiG-29. It achieved a more robust multi-role capability with enhanced use of air-to-air and air-to-ground high-precision weapons. It also featured a considerably increased combat range, owing to an increase in its internal fuel capacity.
- Airframe evolutions
A few changes took place during the aircraft's development. The redesigned airframe was constructed from a lightweight Aluminium-lithium alloy to increase the thrust-to-weight ratio. The air intake ramps' geometry was revised, the upper intake louvers were removed to make way for more fuel in the LERXs, mesh screens introduced to prevent foreign object damage (FOD) and inlet dimensions were enlarged for higher airflow.
The RD-33MK, the latest revision of the RD-33, has 7% more power in comparison to the baseline model due to the use of modern materials on the cooled blades, and provides a thrust of 9,000 kgf. In response to longtime criticism, the new engines are smokeless and contain improvements that reduce its infrared visibility. Thrust vectoring nozzles are now offered upon customer’s request. Dry weight is 1,145 kilograms (2,520 lb) compared to the baseline model through modern materials used on the cooled blades, although it retains the same length and maximum diameter. Incorporated is an infrared and optical signature visibility reduction system. Service life has been increased to 4,000 hours.
- Range and fuel system
The aircraft is built with an inflight-refueling (IFR) probe and is able to carry three fuel drop tanks. The redesigned airframe also significantly increased internal fuel capacity in the dorsal spine and LERXs fuel tanks. These give the single-seat aircraft an operational range of 2,000 km with internal fuel, 3,200 km with three fuel drop tanks, and 6,000 km with three drop tanks and inflight refueling.
The cockpit has been redesigned to incorporate contemporary features. While some analogue instruments have been retained, two monochrome liquid crystal (LCD) multi-function displays (MFD) have been introduced and new weapon controls have been incorporated in a HOTAS concept. Other new features include the Zhuk-ME radar, an infra-red search and track (IRST) system and a helmet-mounted target designation system (early head-mounted display).
Main upgrades consist of the Zhuk-ME pulse-Doppler airborne radar, along with revised IRST systems, a helmet-mounted target designation system and electronic countermeasures. New radar is capable of detecting air targets at ranges up to 120 km, track-while-scan of ten targets and attack of four targets at a time.
The Syrian Air Force ordered 24 MiG-29M/M2s. In July 2012 at the Farnborough Air Show, Russia announced it would not deliver weapons, including combat aircraft, to Syria until the crisis there ends. On 31 May 2013, RSK MiG's director general, Sergei Korotkov, stated that the company plans to sign a contract with Syria to deliver "more than 10" MiG-29 M/M2 and that a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss terms and deadlines of a new contract supplying fighter jets to Syria.
The Serbian Air Force has expressed its intention to buy 12 MIG-29M/M2s to replace their aging MiG-21s. Media reports indicate that Serbia intends to purchase six MiG-29M/M2 aircraft.
In November 2013, it was reported that Egypt and Russia were negotiating an order of 24 MiG-29M/M2s for the Egyptian Air Force. In April 2015, Egypt instead signed a contract, worth up to $2 billion, for 50 MiG-35 fighters.
- MiG-29M / MiG-33 (Product 9.15)
Advanced single-seat multi-role variant, with a redesigned airframe, mechanical flight controls replaced by a fly-by-wire system and powered by enhanced RD-33 ser.3M engines. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-E'.
- MiG-29UBM (Product 9.61)
Two-seat training variant of the MiG-29M. Never built. Effectively continued under the designation 'MiG-29M2'.
- MiG-29SMT (Product 9.17)
An upgrade package of the first-generation MiG-29s (9.12 to 9.13) containing many enhancements intended for the MiG-29M. Additional fuel tanks in a further enlarged spine provide a maximum flight range of 2,100 km on internal fuel. The cockpit has an enhanced HOTAS design, two 152 × 203 mm (6 × 8 inch) colour liquid crystal MFDs and two smaller monochrome LCDs. The upgraded Zhuk-ME radar provides similar features to the MiG-29M. The powerplants are upgraded RD-33 ser.3 engines with afterburning thrust, rated the same at 8,300 kgf (81.4 kN) each. The weapons load was increased to 4,500 kg on six underwing and one ventral hardpoint, with similar weapon choices as for the MiG-29M variant. The upgraded aircraft has also a painted path for non-Russian origin avionics and weapons.
- MiG-29UBT (Product 9.51T)
- MiG-29M2 / MiG-29MRCA
Two-seat version of MiG-29M. Identical characteristics to MiG-29M, with a slightly reduced ferry range of 1,800 km. RAC MiG presented in various air shows, to name a few, Fifth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (CIAAE 2004), AERO INDIA 2005, and MAKS 2005. It was once given designation MiG-29MRCA for marketing purpose and has evolved into the MiG-35.
- Indian Air Force was to have MiG-29s updated to MiG-29SMT level with latest avionics, engine, Zhuk-ME radar, weapon control systems by 2013.
- Algerian Air Force - MiG-29SMT and MiG-29UBT aircraft returned to Russia and exchanged for Su-30MKA. This was due to poor manufacturing quality, where some equipment actually dated back to the early 1990s when the aircraft had been manufactured.
- Crew: 1 or 2
- Length: 17.37 m (57 ft)
- Wingspan: 11.4 m (37 ft 5 in)
- Height: 4.73 m (15 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 38 m² (409 ft²)
- Empty weight: 13,380 kg (29,500 lb)
- Loaded weight: 19,200 kg (42,330 lb) for MiG-29M); (19,000 kg (41,890 lb) for MiG-29M2))
- Max. takeoff weight: 26,500 kg (58,420 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Klimov RD-33MK afterburning turbofans, 88.26 kN (19,840 lbf) each
- Maximum speed:
- High altitude: Mach 2.25 (2,100 km/h, 1,310 mph)
- Low altitude: Mach 1.13 (1,400 km/h, 870 mph)
- Ferry range:
- Clean: 2,000 km (1,240 mi; 1,080 nmi); (1,700 km (1,060 mi; 920 nmi) for MiG-29M2)
- With 3 drop tanks: 3,000 km (1,860 mi; 1,620 nmi); (2,700 km (1,680 mi; 1,460 nmi) for MiG-29M2)
- Service ceiling: 16,000 m (52,490 ft) for MiG-29M); (16,200 m (53,150 ft) for MiG-29M2))
- Rate of climb: 330 m/s (65,000 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 442 kg/m² (90.5 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 1.02
- Maximum g-load: 8-9 g
- Guns: 1 × 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-301 autocannon with 150 rounds
- Hardpoints: 9 × underwing pylons with a capacity of up to 5,500 kg (12,100 lb) of stores and provisions to carry combinations of:
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Dassault Rafale
- McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
- General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
- Eurofighter Typhoon
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