MiG-29SMT is an improved version of the MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft, designed and produced by Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RAC MiG), which is a part of JSC United Aircraft Corporation.
The modernised aircraft is equipped with high-precision air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons to deliver high combat efficiency against aerial, ground, and sea-based targets. It incorporates enhanced cockpit and avionics, additional fuel tanks, upgraded engine, and increased weapons carriage capacity.
The first flight of the MiG-29SMT prototype was concluded in April 1998. Serial production of the fighter aircraft began in 2004.
MiG-29SMT orders and deliveries
Algeria concluded a contract for 28 single-seat MiG-29SMT aircraft in March 2006. RAC MiG delivered 15 aircraft by April 2007. The Algerian Military, however, rejected the deliveries and cancelled the contract in 2008 due to allegations of low-quality manufacturing.
The 28 Algerian-reject MiG-29SMT jets were delivered to the Russian Air Force between 2009 and 2010.
The Yemeni Air Force received its first MiG-29SMT in October 2004. The Yemen Defence Ministry placed a $1.3bn order for 32 MiG-29SMT aircraft in September 2006.
In 2006, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced an upgrade of its 69 MiG-29 jets to the MiG-29UPG standard, which is a similar version of the MiG-29SMT fighter. Modernisation of six aircraft began in Russia in August 2008.
The first three MiG-29UPGs were delivered in December 2012 and three more in March 2013. The remaining units were retrofitted by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The IAF reportedly requested 21 MiG-29 jets from Russia in 2019.
In April 2014, RAC MiG signed a three-year contract worth more than RUB17bn ($473m) with the Russian Defence Ministry to deliver 16 MiG-29SMT aircraft, along with ground support and test equipment, for the Russian Air Force. The first MiG-29SMT fighter was delivered in January 2016.
Syria received new MiG-29SMTs in May 2020 with a delivery ceremony held at Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base.
MiG-29SMT design and features The reinforced structure of the MiG-29SMT Fulcrum multi-role fighter aircraft results in increased flight endurance and a longer range. The aircraft has two fixed, rearward-swept wings with square-cut wing tips. Two vertical stabilisers are fitted at the rear.
A retractable landing gear allows the aircraft to perform safe take-off and landing. Meanwhile, the nose landing gear consists of a single two-wheel bogie, and the two main landing gears featuring a single wheel each.
The length of the fighter jet is 17.32m, whilst the wingspan is 11.36mm and the height is 4.73m. The normal and maximum take-off weights of the aircraft are 17,000kg and 22,000kg respectively.
The aircraft is equipped with a bolt-on retractable refuelling probe and different in-flight refuelling systems. It can be fitted with additional fuel tanks for more fuel.
Cockpit and avionics The new glass cockpit of the MiG-29SMT fighter aircraft is equipped with a data display system consisting of two wide-screen MFD-10-6 multifunction colour displays and hands-on throttle and stick control (HOTAS). It also incorporates an INS-GPS navigation system.
The aircraft is installed with a multifunctional, multi-mode, lightweight pulse doppler airborne radar Zhuk-ME, which was developed by Phazotron-NIIR.
A slot antenna array is fitted on to the radar. This offers an increased detection range and enhanced target recognition than previous generation radars. It can track up to ten air targets, while engaging four targets simultaneously in air-to-air mode.
The aircraft features an open architecture mission computer with a data exchange multiplex channel for integration of different avionics systems, based on the customer requirements.
The optional equipment includes an electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod, radio stations, upgraded infrared search and track system (IRSTS), as well as a variety of identification, friend or foe (IFF) transponders.
The multi-role fighter jet features six external hard-points to carry a variety of modern high-precision weapon systems.
It is armed with two R-27ER1(R1), two R-27ET1(T1) and six RVV-AE medium-range air-to-air missiles; six R-73E short-range air-to-air missiles; four KAB-500Kr / KAB-500L guided bombs; and a 30mm Gsh-301 built-in air gun.
The aircraft also carries two Kh-29TE, two Kh-29L and four Kh-25ML air-to-surface missiles; two Kh-31A anti-ship missiles; and two Kh-31P anti-radar missiles.
Engine and performance
The MiG-29SMT Fulcrum is powered by two RD-33 series-3 engines, which generate a take-off thrust of 8,300kgf each. The power plant ensures a maximum air speed of 1,500km/h near the ground and 2,400km/h at high altitudes.
The ferry range of the aircraft is 1,800km, without any external tanks. The range can be extended up to 2,400km with one drop tank, and up to 3,000km with three drop tanks.
The aircraft can reach a maximum range of more than 5,000km when fitted with three drop tanks and one single in-flight refuelling. Service ceiling is 17,500m, the maximum G-load is nine, and the maximum M-number is Mach 2.25.