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From MiG-29 to MiG-35

_The participants in the flying programme of the MAKS 2015 air show in late August included the advanced MiG-29M2 (serial 747) two-seat multirole fighter of a commonised family of heavily upgraded MiG-29 versions, including the MiG-29K/KUB carrierborne fighters, land-based MiG-29M/M2 fighters and their further derivative MiG-35. The single-seat MiG-29M (serial 741) fitted with several cutting-edge guided weapons could be seen at the static display area at the show.

The MiG Corporation launched the active promotion of the MiG-29M/M2 fighters in 2012. The two aircraft are much commonised with the carrierborne MiG-29K single-seater and MiG-29KUB two-seater in terms of design, avionics and armament. The first two aircraft were assembled and flight-tested in December 2011 (MiG-29M2 two-seater) and February 2012 (MiG-29M single-seater), and the assembly of production-standard MiG-29M/M2s has been in full swing at MiG Corp.'s Production Facility No. 1 in Lukhovitsy, Moscow Region, since 2013. Since a decision was taken to put off the MiG-29M/M2 delivery to the launch customer in the Middle East owing to the complicated political situation in the country, the aircraft were offered to other potential customers as well.

The MiG-35 single-seat and two-seat versions are to signify a further turn of the evolution of the MiG-29M/M2. They are to get an even more advanced avionics suite, including the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar being developed by Phazotron-NIIR corp., a subsidiary of the Radio-electronic Technologies. Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief Victor Bondarev has said recently that the Russian Defence Ministry was intent on ordering a batch of MiG-35 fighters and that the delivery could kick off in 2018.

At the same time, the Defence Ministry ordered 16 MiG-29SMT fighters more from MiG Corp. on 14 April 2014. The aircraft have been made at the corporation's Production Facility No. 2 in Moscow, with the first eight MiG-29SMTs due for delivery as soon as this year and the remainder next year. As is known, RusAF has a MiG-29SMT fleet of 28 units and six MiG-29UB twin-seaters commonised with them.

Published in Take-off magazine, November 2015.

(Photo: Alexey Mikheyev)

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