Mikoyan-Gurevich has started aircraft carrier flight testing of its series production version of the MiG-29K/KUB fighter. The tests are carried out on board the aircraft future home: the Russian Navy Admiral Kuznetsov. We got the photos from the tests, which were perfomed in September.
The Admiral Kuznetsov is the only aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy, serving with the Northern Fleet out of Murmansk. Mikoyan-Gurevich is contracted for the delivery of 20 MiG-29K single-seat and four MiG-29KUB two-seat fighter jets. Currently only Sukhoi Su-33s operate from the aircraft carrier.
The big difference between a normal MiG-29 and the K/KUB version is its foldable wings and better ground-/sea-attack capabilities. MiG put a new Zhuk-ME radar into the machine. Due to the nature of stronger forces on the airframe during carrier operations the aircraft manufacturer also strengthened the airframe and put on a strong tail-hook for the cable-arrested landings on board the aircraft carrier.
Like the American navy the MiG-29K/KUB is capable to execute so-called buddy-refueling, meaning it can provide other MiG-29s in the air of extra fuel. An aircraft carrier is to small for a proper tanker aircraft and by using refueling pods underneath the wing the carrier air unit is capable to operate on longer distance or stay aloft longer without the need of Air Force assets jumping in.
Russia is not the only country using the MiG-29K/KUB. India bought the aircraft to fly from its INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier that Russia will hand over to the Indian Navy in mid-November.
Russia will increase its air forces in Armenia by adding a helicopter squadron to the fighter unit already operating from Erebuni Air Base/Gyumri near Yerevan, reports Russian press agency RAI Novosti.
Currently Erebuni is home to 16 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, part of a by Russia brokered deal to provide defences for the ex-Soviet republics part of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Erebuni is located close to the border with Turkey and therefore a key asset of the Russian military. Officially the airport also accommodates civilian passenger and cargo flights, but those are very limited to charters and services on demand.
The type of helicopter that will be based at Erebuni is yet unclear, but it will likely be either Mi-17s, Mi-24V/Ps or even the Mi-28N Night Hunter. The Armenian Air Force main air assets are 16 Mi-24s and 18 Mi-8s, plus a dozen Su-25 ground attack aircraft.
Source: RAI Novosti with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger
The first of 16 modernised Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft is back on duty with the Polish Air Force. The single-seater with number 89 landed at Minsk Mazowiecki Airbase at the end of July. A second modernised Fulcrum will soon follow, according to a press release by the Polish Air Force (Siły Powietrzne).
Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 2 and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) together upgrade the Fulcrums, 13 single-seaters (MiG-29A) and 3 two-seaters (MiG-29UB). The modernisation mainly concerns the pilot’s office, since the aircraft themselves have already been refurbished to last another 4,000 flight hours each. The biggest eye-catcher is a new multi-function display, clearly visible on the image published at the Polish Air Force website.
It is July 29th today – and let’s just call this day International MiG-29 Day from now on. Yeah! Inspired by our recent digging up of ol’ F-4 Phantom shots, we started looking for some Fulcrums as well since we feel Phantoms and Fulcrums are sort of ‘in the same category’: the category of King of Cool, that is. Here are some hot shots.
We like Poland and we like MiG-29s. Good combo right there.
Hungary is great too! Both its capital Budapest and its MiG-29s. Good combo again!
For more than a decade, Germany used a bunch of Fulcrums that were leftovers from the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA), otherwise known as the East German army. The German MiG-29s were eventually sold to Poland, although a few are preserved in Germany.
These guys are a bit rare, but have shown up in Dutch viewfinders before … Serbia operates a few Fulcrums and did so during the 2012 Batajnica airshow near Belgrade – a city we loved spending some time in while enjoying some Jelen beer.
Next up is a Slovakian MiG-29. We like the Slovaks – simply because they are still flying these things.
Bulgaria sent a MiG-29UB to the 2011 Izmir Airshow, and AIRheads↑FLY was there to capture it and enjoy some of that fine Turkish food and weather.
MiG-29s come in flocks too! One such flock is called Team Strizhi in Russian, or Team Swallows for non-Russian speakers.
Always finish with a rarity is our motto. We anticipate this is rare enough for a grande finale: