Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-29 FULCRUM
The Mikoyan MiG-29 (Russian: Микоян МиГ-29) is a 4th generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union for an air superiority role. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other nations. NATO’s reporting name for the MiG-29 is 'Fulcrum', which was unofficially used by Soviet pilots in service. The MiG-29 along with the Su-27 were developed to counter new American fighters such as the F-15 Eagle, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
In 1969 the Soviet Union learned of the U.S. Air Force's "F-X" program, which resulted in the F-15 Eagle. The Soviet leadership soon realized that the new American fighter would represent a serious technological advantage over existing Soviet fighters. What was needed was a better-balanced fighter with both good agility and sophisticated systems. In response, the Soviet General Staff issued a requirement for a Perspektivnyy Frontovoy Istrebitel (PFI, literally "Perspective Frontline Fighter", roughly "Advanced Frontline Fighter"). Specifications were extremely ambitious, calling for long range, good short-field performance (including the ability to use austere runways), excellent agility, Mach 2+ speed, and heavy armament. The aerodynamic design for the new aircraft was largely carried out by TsAGI in collaboration with the Sukhoi design bureau.
However, in 1971 Soviet studies determined the need for different types of fighters. So the PFI program was supplemented with the LPFI (Perspektivnyy Lyogkiy Frontovoy Istrebitel, or "Advanced Lightweight Tactical Fighter") program. The Soviet fighter force was planned to be approximately 33% PFI and 67% LPFI. PFI and LPFI paralleled the contemporary USAF decision that led to the "Lightweight Fighter" program and the F-16 Fighting Falcon and YF-17 Cobra. The PFI fighter was assigned to Sukhoi, resulting in the Sukhoi Su-27, while the lightweight fighter went to Mikoyan. Detailed design work on the resultant Mikoyan Product 9, designated MiG-29A, began in 1974, with the first flight taking place on 6 October 1977. The pre-production aircraft was first spotted by United States reconnaissance satellites in November of that year; it was dubbed Ram-L because it was observed at the Zhukovsky flight test center near the town of Ramenskoye. Early Western speculations suggested that the Ram-L was very similar in appearance to the YF-17 and powered by afterburning Tumansky R-25 turbojets.
MiG-29 fighter parked on the ramp after a demonstration flight at the Abbotsford Air Show, 1989.
Despite program delays caused by the loss of two prototypes in engine-related accidents, the MiG-29B production version entered service in August 1983 at the Kubinka air base. State acceptance trials were completed in 1984, and deliveries began the same year to the Soviet Frontal Aviation.
The workload split between TPFI and LPFI became more apparent as the MiG-29 filtered into front line service with the VVS in the mid-1980s. While the heavy, long range Su-27 was tasked with the more exotic and dangerous role of deep air-to-air sweeps of NATO high-value assets, the smaller MiG-29 directly replaced the MiG-23 in the frontal aviation role. The MiG-29 was positioned relatively close to the front lines, tasked with providing local air superiority to advancing Soviet motorized army units. Rugged landing gear and protective intake grates meant the MiG-29 could operate from the damaged or under-prepared airstrips Soviet war planners expected to encounter during a rapid armored advance. The MiG-29 was also tasked with escort duties for local strike and interdiction air packages, protecting vulnerable ground attack aircraft from NATO fighters such as the F-15 and F-16. Frontal aviation MiG-29s would ensure Soviet ground forces could operate under a safe air umbrella, moving forward with the troops as they advanced.
In the West, the new fighter was given the NATO reporting name 'Fulcrum-A' because the pre-production MiG-29A, which should have logically received this designation, remained unknown in the West at that time. The MiG-29B was widely exported in downgraded versions known as MiG-29B 9-12A and MiG-29B 9-12B (for Warsaw Pact and non-Warsaw Pact nations, respectively), with less capable avionics and no capability for delivering nuclear weapons. Total production was about 840 aircraft.
Refined versions of the MiG-29 with improved avionics were fielded by the Soviet Union, but Mikoyan’s multi-role variants, including a carrier-based version designated MiG-29K, were never produced in large numbers. In the post-Soviet era, MiG-29 development was influenced by the Mikoyan bureau's apparent lack of political clout compared to rival Sukhoi. Some more advanced versions are still being pursued for export, and updates of existing Russian aircraft are likely. New versions of the fighter called MiG-29SMT and MiG-29M/M2 have been developed. Furthermore, development of the MiG-29K carrier version has been resumed for the Indian Navy's INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov). This version was originally meant for Soviet service onboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, but the larger Sukhoi Su-33 was preferred instead.
The Soviet Union did not assign official names to most of its aircraft, although nicknames were common. Unusually, some Soviet pilots found the MiG-29’s NATO reporting name, 'Fulcrum', to be a flattering description of the aircraft’s intended purpose, and it is sometimes unofficially used in Russian service.
MiG-29UB of Swifts aerobatic team
Because it was developed from the same basic parameters laid out by TsAGI for the original PFI, the MiG-29 is aerodynamically broadly similar to the Sukhoi Su-27, but with some notable differences. It is built largely out of aluminium with some composite materials. It has a mid-mounted swept wing with blended leading-edge root extensions (LERXs) swept at around 40°. There are swept tailplanes and two vertical fins, mounted on booms outboard of the engines. Automatic slats are mounted on the leading edges of the wings; they are four-segment on early models and five-segment on some later variants. On the trailing edge, there are maneuvering flaps and wingtip ailerons. At the time of its deployment, it was the first Soviet and perhaps world's first jet fighter in service capable of executing the Pugachev Cobra maneuver.
The MiG-29 has hydraulic controls and a SAU-451 three-axis autopilot but, unlike the Su-27, no fly-by-wire control system. Nonetheless, it is very agile, with excellent instantaneous and sustained turn performance, high alpha capability, and a general resistance to spins. The airframe is stressed for 9-g (88 m/s²) maneuvers. The controls have "soft" limiters to prevent the pilot from exceeding the g and alpha limits, but these can be disabled manually. In joint USAF-Luftwaffe exercises, the MiG-29 that the Luftwaffe fielded defeated the F-16 in close combat almost every time using its highly practical IRST sensor and helmet mounted display, together with the Vympel R-73 (NATO: AA-11 'Archer') missile
Main article: Klimov RD-33
Klimov RD-33 turbofan engine
The MiG-29 has two widely spaced Klimov RD-33 turbofan engines, each rated at 50.0 kN (11,240 lb) dry and 81.3 kN (18,277 lb) in afterburner. The space between the engines generates lift, thereby reducing effective wing loading, to improve maneuverability. The engines are fed through wedge-type intakes fitted under the LERXs, which have variable ramps to allow high-Mach speeds. As an adaptation to rough-field operations, the main air inlet can be closed completely and alter using the auxiliary air inlet on the upper fuselage for takeoff, landing and low-altitude flying, preventing ingestion of ground debris (foreign object damage [FOD]). Thereby the engines receive air through louvers on the LERXs which open automatically when intakes are closed. However the latest variant of the family, the MiG-35, eliminated these dorsal louvers, and adopted the mesh screens design in the main intakes, similar to those fitted to the Su-27.
 Range and fuel system
MiG-29 with drop tanks receiving fuel transferred from an Il-76 tanker
The internal fuel capacity of the original MiG-29B is only 4,365 liters distributed between six fuel tanks, four in the fuselage and one in each wing. As a result, the aircraft has a very limited range, in line with the original Soviet requirements for a point-defense fighter. For longer flights, this can be supplemented by a 1,500 liter (330 Imp gal, 395 USgal) centerline drop tank and, on later production batches, two 1,150 liter (365 Imp gal, 300 USgal) underwing drop tanks. In addition, a small number have been fitted with port-side inflight refueling probes, allowing much longer flight times by using a probe-and-drogue system. Some MiG-29B airframes have been upgraded to the "Fatback" configuration (MiG-29 9-13), which adds a dorsal-mounted internal fuel tank. Advanced variants, such as the MiG-35, can be fitted with a conformal fuel tank on the dorsal spine, although none of them have yet entered service.
MiG-29 cockpit, 1995
The cockpit features a conventional centre stick and left hand throttle controls. The pilot sits in a Zvezda K-36DM zero-zero ejection seat which has had impressive performance in emergency escapes.
The cockpit has conventional dials, with a head-up display (HUD) and a Shchel-3UM helmet mounted display, but no HOTAS ("hands-on-throttle-and-stick") capability. Emphasis seems to have been placed on making the cockpit similar to the earlier MiG-23 and other Soviet aircraft for ease of conversion, rather than on ergonomics. Nonetheless, the MiG-29 does have substantially better visibility than most previous Russian jet fighters, thanks to a high-mounted bubble canopy. Upgraded models introduce "glass cockpits" with modern liquid-crystal (LCD) multi-function displays (MFDs) and true HOTAS.
The baseline MiG-29B has a Phazotron RLPK-29 (Radiolokatsyonnui Pritselnui Kompleks) radar Fire control system (FCS) which includes the N019 (Sapfir 29; NATO: 'Slot Back') look-down/shoot-down coherent pulse-Doppler radar and Ts100.02-02 digital computer. Tracking range against a fighter-sized target was only about 70 km (38 nmi) in the frontal aspect and 35 km (19 nmi) in the rear aspect. Range against bomber-sized targets was roughly double. Ten targets could be displayed in search mode, but the radar had to lock onto a single target for semi-active homing (SARH). The signal processor had trouble with ground clutter, reducing ranges in the look-down mode. The radar was also susceptible to jamming. These problems meant the MiG-29 was not able to reliably utilize the new Vympel R-27R (NATO: AA-10 "Alamo") long-range SARH missile at its maximum ranges.
MiG-29 nose showing radome and IRST
These performance deficiencies stemmed largely from the fact the N019 radar was not, in fact, a new design. Instead, the system was a further development of the architecture already used in Phazotron's Sapfir-23ML system, then in use on the MiG-23ML. During the initial MiG-29 design specification period in the mid-1970s, Phazotron NIIR was tasked with producing a modern radar for the MiG-29. To speed development, Phazotron based its new design on the work undertaken by NPO Istok on the experimental "Soyuz" radar program. Accordingly, the N019 was originally intended to have a flat planar array antenna and full digital signal processing, giving a detection and tracking range of at least 100 km against a fighter-sized target. Given the state of Soviet avionics technology at the time, it was an ambitious goal. Testing and prototypes soon revealed this could not be attained in the required timeframe, at least not in a radar that would fit in the MiG-29's nose. Rather than design a completely new, albeit more modest radar, Phazotron reverted to a version of the twist cassegrain antenna used successfully on the Sapfir-23ML to save time and cost. This system used the same analog signal processors as their earlier designs, coupled with a NII Argon-designed Ts100 digital computer. While this decision provided a working radar system for the new fighter, it inherited all of the weak points of the earlier design. This reliance on 1960s-era technology continues to plague the MiG-29's ability to detect and track airborne targets at ranges available with the R-27 and R-77 missiles, although new designs like the digital N010 Zhuk-M address the serious signal processing shortcomings inherent in the analog design. Most MiG-29 continue to use the analog N019 or N019M radar, although VVS has indicated its desire to upgrade all existing MiG-29s to a fully digital system.
MiG-29UB on display, showing gunport
The N019 was further compromised by Phazotron designer Adolf Tolkachev’s betrayal of the radar to the CIA, for which he was executed in 1986. In response to all of these problems, the Soviets hastily developed a modified N019M Topaz radar for the upgraded MiG-29S aircraft. However, VVS was reportedly still not satisfied with the performance of the system and demanded another upgrade. The latest upgraded aircraft offer the N010 Zhuk-M), which has a planar array antenna rather than a dish, improving range, and a much superior processing ability, with multiple target engagement capability and compatibility with the Vympel R-77 (or RVV-AE) (NATO: AA-12 'Adder'). A useful feature the MiG-29 shares with the Su-27 is the S-31E2 KOLS, a combined laser rangefinder and IRST in an 'eyeball' mount forward of the cockpit canopy. This can be slaved to the radar or used independently, and provides exceptional gun-laying accuracy.
A Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 with armaments laid out
Armament for the MiG-29 includes a single GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. This originally had a 150-round magazine, which was reduced to 100 rounds in later variants. Original production MiG-29B aircraft cannot fire the cannon when carrying a centerline fuel tank as it blocks the shell ejection port. This issue was corrected in the MiG-29S and later versions. Three pylons are provided under each wing (four in some variants), for a total of six (or eight). The inboard pylons can carry either a 1,150 liter (300 US gallon) fuel tank, one Vympel R-27 (AA-10 "Alamo") medium-range air-to-air missile, or unguided bombs or rockets. Some Soviet aircraft could carry a single nuclear bomb on the port inboard station. The outer pylons usually carry R-73 (AA-11 "Archer") dogfight missiles, although some users still retain the older R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid"). A single 1,500 liter (400 US gallon) tank can be fitted to the centerline, between the engines, for ferry flights, but this position is not used for combat stores. The original MiG-29B can carry general-purpose bombs and unguided rocket pods, but not precision-guided munitions. Upgraded models have provision for laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles.
 Operational history
The Soviet Union exported MiG-29s to several developing countries. Because 4th-generation fighter jets require the pilots to have extensive training, air-defense infrastructure, and constant maintenance and upgrade, MiG-29s have had mixed operational history with different air forces. For example, while the MiG-29s have an excellent operational history under the Indian Air Force which has invested heavily in the aircraft, it does not have a good track record while serving the air forces of other countries like Iraq and Yugoslavia.
 In service with the Soviet Union and Russia
MiG-29UB at the 1988 Farnborough Airshow
The MiG-29 was first publicly seen in the West when the Soviet Union displayed the aircraft in Finland in July 1986. Two MiG-29s were also displayed at the Farnborough Airshow in Britain in September 1988. The following year, the aircraft conducted flying displays at the 1989 Paris Air Show where it was involved in a non-fatal crash during the first weekend of the show. The Paris Air Show display was only the second display of Soviet fighters at an international air show since the 1930s. Western observers were impressed by its apparent capability and exceptional agility. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, most of the MiG-29s entered service with the newly formed Russian Air Force.
In 1993 two MiG-29s of the Russian Air Force collided in mid-air and crashed away from the public at the 1993 Royal International Air Tattoo. No one was hurt on the ground. The two pilots ejected and landed safely. Investigators later determined that a pilot error was the cause, after one pilot did a reverse loop and disappeared into the clouds, the other one lost sight of his wingman and aborted the routine.
On 20 April 2008, Georgian officials accused a Russian MiG-29 of shooting down a Georgian Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicle and provided video footage from the ill-fated drone showing an apparent MiG-29 launching an air-to-air missile at it. Russia denies that the aircraft was theirs and says they did not have any pilots in the air that day. Abkhazia’s administration claimed its own forces shot down the drone with an L-39 aircraft "because it was violating Abkhaz airspace and breaching ceasefire agreements." UN investigation concluded that the video was authentic and that the drone was shot down by a Russian MiG-29 or Su-27 using a R-73 heat seeking missile. MiG-29s also performed close air support mission in the Russian support of Abkhaz and South Ossetia in the summer of 2008 during Georgian invasion.
The Russian Air Force grounded all its MiG-29s following a crash in Siberia on 17 October 2008. Following a second crash with an MiG-29 in east Siberia in December 2008, Russian officials admitted that most MiG-29 fighters in the Russian Air Force were incapable of performing combat duties due to poor maintenance. The age of the aircraft was also an important factor as about 70% of the MiGs were considered to be too old to take to the skies. The Russian MiG-29s have not received updates since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is because the Russian Air Force chose to upgrade the Su-27 and MiG-31 instead. On 4 February 2009, the Russian Air Force resumed flights with the MiG-29. However, in March 2009, 91 MiG-29s of the Russian Air Force required repair after inspections due to corrosion; approximately 100 MiGs were cleared to continue flying at the time. The Russian Air Force has now started update its early MiG-29s to more current MiG-29SMT standard and have bought 23 new MiG-29SMTs.
 In service with India
India was the first international customer of the MiG-29. The Indian Air Force (IAF) placed an order for more than 50 MiG-29s in 1980 while the aircraft was still in its initial development phase. Since its induction into the IAF in 1985, the aircraft has undergone a series of modifications with the addition of new avionics, sub-systems, turbofan engines and radars. The upgraded Indian version is known as Baaz (Hindi for Hawk) and forms a crucial component of the second-line offensive aircraft-fleet of the IAF after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI.
The MiG-29’s good operational record prompted India to sign a deal with Russia in 2005-06 to upgrade its 67 MiG-29s for US$888 million. Under the deal, the Indian MiGs were modified so as to deploy the R-77RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder) air-to-air missile, also known as the Amraamski. The missiles were successfully tested in October 1998 and have been integrated into IAF's MiG-29s. IAF has also awarded the MiG Corporation another US$900 million contract to upgrade all of its 69 operational MiG-29s. These upgrades will include a new avionics fit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by a Phazatron Zhuk-M radar. The aircraft is also being equipped to enhance beyond-visual-range combat ability and for air-to-air refuelling to increase endurance. In 2007, Russia also gave India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited the license to manufacture 120 RD-33 series 3 turbojet engines for the upgrade. The upgrade will also include a new weapon control system, cockpit ergonomics, air-to-air missiles, high-accuracy air-to-ground missiles and "smart" aerial bombs. The first six MiG-29s will be upgraded in Russia while the remaining 63 MiGs will be upgraded at the Hindustan Aeronautics facility in India. India also awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Israel Aircraft Industries to provide avionics and subsystems for the upgrade.
In January 2004, the Indian Navy signed a contract for the delivery of 12 MiG-29K and 4 MiG-29KUB which will be operated from INS Vikramaditya. The first MiG-29KUB manufactured for the Navy took to the skies in May 2008. The first four aircraft were delivered to India in February 2009. There were also reports that the Indian Navy would purchase an additional 30 MiG-29Ks and KUBs for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier.
The Indian Air Force expressed concern after 90 MiG-29s were grounded in Russia. After carrying out an extensive inspection, the IAF cleared all MiG-29s in its fleet in March 2009. In a disclosure in Parliament, Defence Minister A K Antony said the MiG-29 is structurally flawed it that it has a tendency to develop cracks due to corrosion in the tail fin. Russia has shared this finding with India, which emerged after the crash of a Russian Air Force MiG-29 in December 2008. "A repair scheme and preventive measures are in place and IAF has not encountered major problems concerning the issue," Antony said. Despite concerns of Russia's grounding, India sent the first six of its 78 MiG-29s to Russia for upgrades in 2008. The upgrade program will fit the MiGs with a phased array radar (PESA) and in-flight re-fueling capability.
 Kargil conflict
Main article: Kargil War
Indian MiG-29s were used extensively during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir by the Indian Air Force to provide fighter escort for Mirage 2000, which were attacking targets with laser-guided bombs. According to Indian sources, MiG-29s from the IAF's No. 47 squadron (Black Archers) gained missile lock on two F-16s of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) which were patrolling close to the border to prevent any incursions by Indian aircraft, but did not engage them because no official declaration of war had been issued. The Indian MiG-29s were armed with beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles whereas the Pakistani F-16s were not. Pakistani sources reported the number of border violations by Indian aircraft dropped when F-16s were on patrol and there were several occasions where fighters from both sides obtained missile lock but no combat took place.
 In service with Yugoslavia and Serbia
Two Yugoslav MiG-29s at Batajnica, shortly after delivery in 1987.
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the first European country after the Soviet Union to operate MiG-29. The SFR Yugoslav Air Force purchased a total of 14 MiG-29s and two MiG-29UBs from the USSR, in 1987. MiG-29s were taken into service with the 127 Lovacka Avijacijska Eskadrila (127. LAE, Fighter Aviation Squadron), known as Vitezovi (Knights), part of the 204. Lovacki Avijacijski Puk (204. LAP, Fighter Aviation Regiment) based at Batajnica Air Base, north of Belgrade, in what is today the Republic of Serbia. The aircraft was designated L-18 (L for Lovac, fighter), or NL-18 ('Nastavni Lovac, trainer fighter) for the "UB" version.
Serial numbers of MiG-29 fighters in YuAF:
* MiG-29: 18101-18114
* MiG-29UB: 18301-18302
A total of 16 aircraft remained, since SFR Yugoslavia was in process of developing its own supersonic fighter aircraft, designated Novi Avion. The Yugoslav MiG-29s saw little combat during the war in former Yugoslavia, and were used primarily for ground attacks. Several Antonov An-2 cargo aircraft used by Croatia were destroyed on the ground in Čepin airfield near Osijek, Croatia in 1991 by a MiG-29. Several MiG-21 aircraft were brought down by Croatian forces, but no MiG-29s were lost during the fighting in 1991-97.
 NATO intervention in FR Yugoslavia
The MiG-29s continued their service in the subsequent FRY Air Force and eventually in Serbian Air Force. During the long arms embargo placed upon the country, the condition of the MiGs worsened. Before the Operation Allied Force started in 1999, Yugoslav MiGs were over 10 years old, and deprived of spare parts. Some were totally "stripped" for their spare parts, to get other aircraft in operational condition. In March 1999, Yugoslav Air Force Command had 11 MiG-29s considered operational.
A total of 6 MiG-29s were shot down, of which 4 MiG-29s were shot down by USAF F-15C, 1 by USAF F-16CJ or friendly fire MANPADS, and one by Dutch F-16AM. Others were destroyed on the ground and, one crash landed and was later destroyed, as it was placed as a decoy.
 After the war
Serbian Air Force MiG-29 at Batajnica Air Base
The unit continued flying its remaining five MiG-29s (at a very low rate) after the war, even if it had to replace the losses by MiG-21s evacuated from Pristina after the war. In spring 2004, however, news appeared that what was then the Air Force of Serbia and Montenegro ceased MiG-29 operations, because the aircraft could not be maintained.
Currently, MiG-29s have resumed their service in the Serbian Air Force. In the 101st squadron, part of the 204th Air Base. The first MiG-29 became operational on February 2008, a second MiG-29 by March of that year, and a third by May. Another two became operational by the summer of 2008. The first public appearance of the overhauled MiG's was on 15 February, the Statehood Day. The aircraft was flown by Col Nebojša Đukanović, Chief of the Air Force and the Air Defense HQ. The second MiG-29 that is back in service is used for the training of MiG-29 pilots. Aircraft 18101, flown again by Gen Nebojša Đukanović appeared for first time with new low-visible camo and markings. The third and fourth overhauled aircraft, together with the first two, flew over Belgrade on 12 September 2008. One MiG-29 was crashed near Batajnica on 7 July 2009, killing the pilot and one soldier on ground.
 In service with Germany
MiG-29 in German black-red-gold colors
The German Democratic Republic bought 24 MiG-29s (20 MiG-29As, four MiG-29UBs), which entered service in 1988–1989. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and reunification of Germany in October 1990, the MiG-29s and other planes of the Luftstreitkräfte der NVA were integrated into the Luftwaffe. After upgrades by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (now EADS) for NATO compatibility, they were designated MiG-29G and MiG-29GT. In March 1991, one of the MiG-29s in German service was transferred to the USAF for evaluation, along with several Su-22s and MiG-23s.
The Federation of American Scientists claims the MiG-29 is equal or better than the F-15C and in some areas such as short aerial engagements because of the Helmet Mounted Weapons Sight (HMS) and better maneuverability at slow speeds. This was demonstrated when MiG-29s of the German Luftwaffe participated in joint DACT exercises with U.S. fighters. The HMS was a great help, allowing the Germans to achieve a lock on any target the pilot could see within the missile field of view, including those almost 45 degrees off boresight. In contrast, the U.S. aircraft were only able to lock onto targets in a narrow window directly in front of the aircraft’s nose. It was not until late 2003 that the USAF and US Navy achieved Initial Operational Capability of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System.
Since 1993 the German MiGs were stationed with 1./JG73 "Steinhoff" in Laage near Rostock. During the service in the Luftwaffe one MiG-29 ("29+09") was destroyed during an accident on 25 June 1996 due to pilot error. By 2003, Luftwaffe pilots had flown over 30,000 hours in the MiG-29. In September 2003, 22 of the 23 remaining machines were sold to the Polish Air Force for the symbolic price of €1 per item. The last planes were transferred in August 2004. The 23rd MiG-29 ("29+03") was put on display in the Laage.
 In service with Poland
The first 12 MiG-29 (nine MiG-29As, three MiG-29UB) were delivered to Poland in 1989-1990. The aircraft were based at Mińsk Mazowiecki and used by the 1st Fighter Aviation Regiment, in 2001 reorganized as 1 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego, or 1st Tactical Squadron. In 1995 10 used examples were acquired from the Czech Republic (nine MiG-29As, one MiG-29UB). After the retirement of its MiG-21s and -23s in 2003, Poland was left for a time with only these 22 MiG-29s in the interceptor role.
In 2004 Poland received 22 ex-Luftwaffe MiG-29s. 14 of these were overhauled and taken into service, equipping the 41st TS and replacing its MiG-21s. At present Poland has 32 active MiG-29s (26 MiG-29As, six MiG-29UB) which will serve at least until 2012–5. They are currently stationed in the 1st Tactical Squadron (1. elt) at the 23rd Air Base near Mińsk Mazowiecki and the 41st Tactical Squadron (41. elt) at the 22nd Air Base near Malbork. As of 2008, Poland is the biggest NATO MiG-29 user. The possibility of modernising the planes to enable them to serve until 2020–5 is being contemplated, depending on whether cooperation with Mikoyan can be established.
From 2007, MiGs are supported by Block 52+ F-16s from 3rd TS (replacing MiG-21) and 6th TS (replacing Su-22), from 2008 F-16s will also be used in 10th TS (replacing MiG-21).
There have been unconfirmed reports that Poland had at one point leased a MiG-29 from their own inventory to Israel for evaluation and the aircraft has since been returned to Poland, as suggested by photographs of a MiG-29 in Israeli use.
 MiG 29s in the United States
A German MiG-29 in company with a USAF F-16.
In 1997, the United States purchased 21 Moldovan aircraft under the Cooperative Threat Reduction accord. Fourteen were MiG-29Ss, which are equipped with an active radar jammer in its spine and are capable of being armed with nuclear weapons. Part of the United States’ motive to purchase these aircraft was to prevent them from being sold to "rogue states", especially Iran. This purchase could also provide the United States Air Force with a working evaluation and data for the MiG-29. Such information may prove valuable in any future conflicts and can aid in the design and testing of current and future weapons platforms. In late 1997, the MiGs were delivered to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, though many of the former Moldovan MiG-29s are believed to have been scrapped.
 In service with other countries
Iraqi MiG-29 destroyed during Operation Desert Storm.
MiG-29s saw combat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War at the hands of Iraqi pilots. According to the USAF, five MiG-29s were shot down, all by USAF F-15s. Eight MiG-29 pilots managed to flee to Iran where their aircraft now serve in the Iranian Air Force, which now buys MiG-29s from Russia as well.
A Cuban MiG-29UB shot down two Cessna 337s belonging to the organization Brothers to the Rescue in 1996, after the planes approached Cuban airspace.
According to some reports, in the 1999 Eritrean-Ethiopian War, a few Eritrean MiG-29s were shot down by Ethiopian Su-27s piloted by Russian mercenaries. While there are some other reports of Eritrean MiG-29s shooting down two Ethiopian MiG-21s and three MiG-23s.
On 14 September 2001, two Syrian Air Force MiG-29s were reported shot down by two IDF/AF F-15C while intercepting an Israeli reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Lebanon. Israeli fighters used IR homing short range missiles, an AIM-9M Sidewinder and a Python IV missile. The Syrian pilots ejected and were rescued by Syrian ships.
On 10 May 2008, the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) troops mounted an assault on the Sudanese capital. During this action, a Sudanese Air Force MiG-29 was shot down by Darfur Justice and Equality Movement rebel forces with 12.7 mm and 14.5 mm heavy machine gun fire while it was attacking a convoy of vehicles in Khartoum suburb of Omdurman. The aircraft was piloted by a Russian mercenary. He was killed in action as his parachute did not open after ejecting. Regular Sudanese forces managed to repulse the attack and Sudan accused Chad of backing JEM in its attempt.
 Possible and future operators
Sri Lanka is planning to acquire the MiG-29SM.
Lebanon plans to acquire 10 MiG-29s from Russia. To be delivered after being configured to "export version" and after LAF pilots complete training in Russia.
There are currently several upgrade programmes conducted by the Russian Air Force for MiG-29 fighters which envisage: upgrading of the avionics suite to comply with NATO / ICAO (www.icao.int) standards, extension of the aircraft service life to 4,000 flight hours (40 years), upgrading combat capabilities and reliability, safety enhancements. In 2005 the Russian Aircraft Corporation “MiG” started production of new unified family of multi-role fighters of the 4++ generation (aircraft-carrier based MiG-29K, front-line MiG-29M and MiG-35 fighters).
Romanian Air Force MiG-29 'Fulcrum-A'. The Romanian air force has withdrawn its MiG-29s from service.
MiG-29 (Product 9.12)
Initial production version; entered service in 1983. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-A'.
MiG-29B-12 (Product 9.12A)
Downgraded export version for non-Warsaw Pact nations. Lacked a nuclear weapon delivery system and possessed downgraded radar, ECM and IFF. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-A'.
MiG-29UB-12 (Product 9.51)
Twin seat training model. Infra-red sensor mounted only, no radar. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-A'.
The MiG-29S is virtually identical in external appearance to older MiG-29B airframes. Differences start with the improvements in the flight control system. Four new computers provide better stability augmentation and controllability with an increase of 2° in angle of attack (AoA). Its improved mechanical-hydraulic flight control system allows for greater control surface deflections. The MiG-29S added a dorsal 'hump' to the upper fuselage (earning it the nickname "Fatback" in service) which was originally believed to be for additional fuel, but in fact, most of its volume is used for the new L-203BE Gardenyia-1 ECM system. Internal fuel is only slightly increased by 75 liters, making the aircraft's fuel fraction about 0.27, thus comparable to that of the F-16. It can also carry 1,150 liter (304 US gallon, 2,000 lb) drop tanks under each wing and the traditional centerline tank. Inboard underwing hardpoints are upgraded to allow for a tandem pylon arrangement for a larger payload of 4,000 kg (8,820 lb). Overall maximum gross weight has been raised to 20,000 kg (44,000 lb).
In the MiG-29S, the GSh-30-1 cannon has had its expended round ejector port modified to allow for firing while the centerline tank is still attached. As with the MiG-29, there are six underwing hardpoints, but these can be expanded to eight. The MiG-29S improvement would also allow for new missiles like the R-27E (AA-10 "Alamo") which has 1.5 times the range of the basic model R-27 due to its larger rocket motor. These long-burn variants have previously been only found on the Su-27 Flanker. The new hardpoint configuration also adds the capability to mount the new R-77 (AA-12 "Adder") active-radar, long-range air-to-air missile.
Initially, the avionics of the MiG-29S only added a new IRST sighting system combined with a better imbedded training system that allowed for IR and radar target simulation. However, the final MiG-29S improvement kit also provides for the Phazotron N019M radar and more built-in test equipment (BITE) (especially for the radar) to reduce dependence on ground support equipment; MiG MAPO calls this model the MiG-29SD. Revised weapon system algorithms in the MiG-29S's software, combined with an increase in processing capacity, allows for the tracking of up to 10 targets and the simultaneous engagement of two with the R-77 missile.
The MiG-29S also has a limited ground-attack capability with unguided munitions, but in order to transform the MiG-29 into a true multi-role fighter, MAPO designed the MiG-29SM variant with the improved avionics necessary to carry and employ precision-guided weapons. The "SE/SD/SM" improvements in the MiG-29S, combined with the development money made available for the naval MiG-29K, gave MAPO the incentive to forge ahead with the multirole MiG-29M "Super Fulcrum".
Flight performance of the MiG-29S is but slightly reduced compared to the original MiG-29 due to the weight of the additional fuel and avionics. Only 48 MiG-29S airframes were produced for the Russian VVS before funding was cut. Of this number, it is unknown how many are the standard air-superiority "S" version and how many are the multi-role "SM" version. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-C'.
MiG-29S-13 (Product 9.13)
MiG-29 variant similar to the 9.12, but with an enlarged fuselage spine containing additional fuel and a Gardeniya active jammer. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-C'.
MiG-29S-13 (Product 9.13S)
Version with the same airframe as the 9.13, but with an increased external weapons load of 4,000 kg, and provision for two underwing fuel tanks. Radar upgraded to N019ME, providing an ability to track 10 targets and engage 2 simultaneously. Compatible with the Vympel R-77 (AA-12 "Adder") air-to-air missile (similar to the AIM-120 AMRAAM). NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-C'.
MiG-29SM (Product 9.13M)
Similar to the 9.13, but with the ability to carry guided air-to-surface missiles and TV- and laser-guided bombs. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-C'.
MiG-29K (Product 9.31)
Main article: Mikoyan MiG-29K
Naval variant, the letter "K" stands for "Korabelnogo bazirovaniya" (Deck-based ), with equipment such as folding wings, arrestor gear, and reinforced landing gear. Originally intended for the Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers, had even received series production approval from Russian Ministry of Defence but was later grounded in 1992 due to shift in military doctrine and state financial difficulty. MiG Corporation restarted the program in 1999 and made vital improvement to the previous design. On 20 January 2004, Indian Navy signed a contract of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and four two-seat MiG-29KUB set delivery in the period from 2007 to 2009. Modification was made for Indian Navy requirement; now standard for all current production, featured Zhuk-ME radar, RD-33MK engine, combat payload up to 5,500 kg, 13 hardpoints (inclusive of the multi-lock bomb carriers), additional fuel tanks situated in dorsal spine fairing and wing LERXs, increased total fuel capacity by 50% comparing to first variant of MiG-29 and updated 4-channel digital fly-by-wire flight control system. Current production MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB also share a full-sized two-seater style canopy. With special coatings MiG-29K radar reflecting surface is 4-5 times smaller than of basic MiG-29. Cockpit displays consist of wide HUD and three (seven on MiG-29KUB) colour LCD MFDs and French Sigma-95 satellite GPS module and Topsight E helmet-mounted targeting system. Compatible with the full range of weapons carried by the MiG-29M and MiG-29SMT. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-D'.
MiG-29KUB (Product 9.47)
Identical characteristic to the MiG-29K but with tandem twin seat configuration. The design is to serve as trainer for MiG-29K pilot and is full combat capable. The first MiG-29KUB developed for the Indian Navy made its maiden flight at the Russian Zhukovsky aircraft test centre on 22 January 2007. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-D'.
MiG-29M / MiG-33 (Product 9.15)
Main article: Mikoyan MiG-29M
Advanced 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-D'.
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, MAKS 2005. It was once given designation MiG-29MRCA for marketing purpose and now evolved into the current MiG-35.
MiG-29UBM (Product 9.61)
Two-seat training variant of the MiG-29M. Never built. Effectively continued under the designation 'MiG-29M2' (see below).
MiG-29SMT (Product 9.17)
Main article: Mikoyan MiG-29SMT
In 1998 a decision was made by the Defense Ministry to launch a quantity-modernization program of the MiG-29 fighters. A total of 150 to 180 modernized MiG-29SMTs was be introduced in service with the Russian Air Force. Extensive modernization was planned only for the aircraft produced through the previous decade. The modernization program started in September 1998 by the Kubinka military aircraft-repair plant and the MAPO MiG. The first batch of 10 to 15 MiG-29SMTs was delivered before the end of the year. In 1999, a total of 20 to 30 MiG-29 fighters were modernized into the MiG-29SMT version, approaching fifth-generation fighters in terms of characteristics. Starting from the year 2000, the program's annual modernization rate was expected to reach 40 MiG-29SMTs. The overall plan provides for modernization of 150-180 MiG-29s to the MiG-29SMT status and 120 more to the MiG-29UBT (2 seater) status, with the remainder of the older aircraft withdrawn from service.
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). Cockpit enhanced HOTAS design, two 152 × 203 mm (6 × 8 inch) colour liquid crystal MFDs and two smaller monochrome LCDs. Upgraded Zhuk-ME radar provides similar feature to the MiG-29M. Power plant upgraded the RD-33 ser.3 engines, afterburning-thrust rated same at 8,300 kgf (81.4 kN) each. Weapons load increased to 4,500 kg on six underwing and one ventral hardpoints, with similar weapon choices as for the MiG-29M variant. The upgraded aircraft has also painted path for non-Russian origin avionics and weapons.
MiG-29UBT (Product 9.51T)
SMT Standard upgrade for the MiG-29UB. Namely users, Algeria and Yemen.
MiG-29OVT on display
The aircraft is one of the six pre-built MiG-29Ms before 1991, later received thrust-vectoring engine and fly-by-wire technology. It served as a thrust-vectoring engine testbed and technology demonstrator in various air shows to show future improvement in the MiG-29M. It has identical avionics to the MiG-29M. The only difference in the cockpit layout is an additional switch to turn on vector thrust function. The two RD-133 thrust-vectoring engines, each features unique rotating nozzles which can provide thrust vector deflection in all directions. However, despite its thrust-vectoring, other specifications were not officially emphasized. The aircraft is being demonstrated along with the MiG-29M2 in various air shows around the world for potential export. The aircraft is usually used as an aerobatic demonstrator.
It was an upgrade standard for the German Luftwaffe's MiG-29 / 29UB, inherited from the former East Germany to the NATO standards. Works was done by MiG Aircraft Product Support GmbH (MAPS), a joint venture company form between MiG Moscow Aviation Production Association and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace in 1993.
Slovak Air Force performed an upgrade on their MiG-29/-29UB for NATO compatibility. Work is done by RAC MiG and Western firms, starting from 2005. The aircraft now has navigation and communications systems from Rockwell Collins, an IFF system from BAE Systems, new glass cockpit features multi-function LCD displays and digital processors and also fitted to be integrate with Western equipment in the future. However, the armaments of the aircraft remain unchanged. 12 out of 21 of the entire MiG-29 fleet were upgraded and had been delivered as of late February, 2008.
Upgrade attempt for Romanian Air Force, by Israeli firms. First flight occurred on 5 May 2000. The program was halted along with the retiring of Romanian MiG-29s in 2003. The latter occurred because of high maintenance costs, which led to the Romanian Government's decision to halt the MiG-29 program and further invest in the MiG-21 LanceR program.
Main article: Mikoyan MiG-35
A recently unveiled mature development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB. NATO reporting code is 'Fulcrum-F'.
Main article: List of Mikoyan MiG-29 operators
Operators of the MiG-29 in dark blue (former operators in light blue)
Ex-Czechoslovak MiG-29 of the Polish Air Force
Hungarian Air Force MiG-29A
Peruvian Air Force MiG-29 on display
* Algeria - 51 MiG-29s in service as of Nov. 2008.
* Peru - 19 in service as of Nov. 2008.
* Bangladesh - 14 MiG-29SE and 2 MiG-29UB in service.
* Bulgaria - 16 MiG-29S and 4 MiG-29UB, modernized in 2009
* Hungary - to be phased out in 2010.
* India - Indian Air Force has 69 MiG-29s in service and the Indian Naval Air Arm has 12 MiG-29Ks on order as of Nov. 2008.
* Israel - on lease from an unknown country, used for aggressor training.
* Malaysia - To be retired
* Lebanon - To be delivered in late 2009
* Myanmar - Ordered next 15 in 2009
* North Korea - 40 in service as of Nov. 2008. 12 initially bought from Belarus in 1995 and a follow up order of 18 MiG-29SE plus 3 new from Russia in 1996. Two were lost in accidents leaving 31 MiG-29 total, only 19 MiG-29 are in active service while the remaining 12 are in reserve flying occasionally to keep it in circulation with the active fleet.
* Poland - 36 in service
* Russia - 406 in service as of Nov. 2008. An additional 100 MiG-29S (SE for the export designation) and another 34 MiG-29SMT are new from an order rejected from Algeria.
* Serbia - 4 in service
* Sri Lanka - 5 in service
* Slovakia - 21 MiG-29s, 12 in active service
* Sudan - 12 in active service
* Ukraine - 220 in use as of Nov. 2008.
* United States - As aggressor unit.
* Kyrgyzstan - Not airborne. Kept in bunker in operational condition.
* Czechoslovakia/ Czech Republic - All sold to Poland
* East Germany/ Germany - All sold to Poland
* Moldova - Not operational, in storage.
* Soviet Union
* Yugoslavia/ FR Yugoslavia
 MiG-29s on display
There are several museums in Russia that display MiG-29s:
* Three are stationed in Central Air Force Museum in Monino near Moscow. One is a prototype, one an early production model (both with ventral fins), and one a MiG-29KVP
* One MiG-29 (9-13) is on display of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow on the Poklonnaya Hill
* Another MiG-29 can be found at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow
Several MiG-29s are on display in Europe:
* One MiG-29 is on display at the Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw, Poland.
* Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków has a MiG-29, which served in the Polish Air Force.
* One MiG-29 is on display in Germany. The only remaining German MiG-29G (29+03) was on display in Laage before being moved to the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr in Berlin's Gatow Airport in 2006 as part of the exhibition "50 Jahre Luftwaffe".
* No. 67 (MiG-29 Sniper proto) is on display at the Romania Muzeul Aviatiei, Bucharest.
* The second MiG-29UB prototype (9-52) is on display at the Riga Aviation Museum, in Riga, Latvia. After 213 test flights around Moscow between 23 August 1982 and 10 April 1986, it was disassembeled and parts of the wings and tails were re-used in prototype (9-16). The remains were shipped to Riga Military Aviation Engineers High School, and later handed over to the Riga Aviation Museum in 1994, where it is currently displayed. The remains of this prototype is in a very bad condition, with open fuselage panels and a partly broken canopy and open cockpit that exposes the airframe to inclement weather.
MiG-29s are currently on display in the United States at the following locations:
* Goodfellow AFB in Texas
* NAS Fallon Airpark in Nevada
* Two MiG-29s in Soviet and Modavian colors are on display at Nellis AFB in Nevada. One is at the outside of the Threat Training facility and another, in better shape, inside a hangar alongside a MiG-23.
* For several years an early MiG 29A (s/n 2960516761) was stored in a restoration hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. In June 2007 the aircraft was put on display in the Cold War Gallery of the Museum and continues to receive minor upgrading while on display. It was formerly assigned to the 234th Gvardeiskii Istrebitelnii Aviatsionnii Polk (234th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment) stationed at Kubinka Air Base near Moscow. This aircraft was one of six MiG-29s that made a good will visit to Kuoppio-Rissala, Finland, in July 1986, an event that marked the first public display of the MiG-29. 
* One former Moldovan MiG-29S is currently on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
* A MiG-29 is on display outside of the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
* A MiG-29 is on display near the entrance at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
* One MiG-29 is on display at NAS Fallon.
* One MiG-29 is on display minus its canopy at MacDill AFB.
* A MiG-29 from the former Moldovan group is on display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, painted in Russian markings.
* One MiG-29UB is on display at the NASIC headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
 In private ownership
* MiG-29UB (civilian registration N29UB) is owned by the Historic Flight Foundation in Seattle, Washington. The aircraft was obtained from Eastern Europe in early 2009. The aircraft has an FAA approved maintenance program and is flyable. The Historic Flight Foundation plans to fly the aircraft at airshows, as well as provide support services for other MiG-29s that become operational in the U.S.
* A private collector, Don Kirlin, has two MiG-29s purchased from Kyrgyzstan. Due to State Department restrictions they lack an avionics package. The aircraft are located at the Quincy Regional Airport in Quincy, Illinois. These MiG-29s are currently not flight-worthy and need a complete refurbishment to become flyable.
* Two additional MiG-29UB in flying condition were offered for sale from Eastern Europe in spring 2009. These aircraft come from the same source as the flyable aircraft owned by the Historic Flight Foundation.
3-view drawing of MiG-29
Data from MiG specifications
* Crew: One
* Length: 17.37 m (57 ft)
* Wingspan: 11.4 m (37 ft 3 in)
* Height: 4.73 m (15 ft 6 in)
* Wing area: 38 m² (409 ft²)
* Empty weight: 11,000 kg (24,250 lb)
* Loaded weight: 16,800 kg (37,000 lb)
* Max takeoff weight: 21,000 kg (46,300 lb)
* Powerplant: 2× Klimov RD-33 afterburning turbofans, 8,300 kgf (81.4 kN, 18,300 lbf) each
* Maximum speed: Mach 2.25 (2,400 km/h, 1,490 mph) At low altitude: 1,500 km/h, 930 mph
* Range: 700 km (430 mi)
* Ferry range: 2,100 km (1,800 mi) with 1 drop tank
* Service ceiling: 18,013 m (59,100 ft)
* Rate of climb: initial 330 m/s average 109 m/s 0-6000 m (65,000 ft/min)
* Wing loading: 442 kg/m² (90.5 lb/ft²)
* Thrust/weight: 1.13
* 1x 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 100 rounds
* Up to 3,500 kg (7,720 lb) of weapons including six air-to-air missiles — a mix of semi-active radar homing (SARH) and AA-8 "Aphid", AA-10 "Alamo", AA-11 "Archer", AA-12 "Adder", FAB 500-M62, FAB-1000, TN-100, ECM Pods, S-24, AS-12, AS-14.
* Phazotron N019, N010 radars