Apr 18, 2014
Russia orders more MiG-29SMT fighters
Russia has signed a contract with RAC MiG for 16 more MiG-29SMT , including ground support and test equipment. The order will see the RAC MiG deliver the aircraft to the Russian Air Force by 2016.
An order of 16 MiG-29SMT fighters was first suggested by Russian Deputy Defence Minister in August 2013 to make up for the lack of an immediate order of RAC MiG's newer MiG-35S 'Fulcrum-F' fighter aircraft. The new MiG-29SMTs will allow the Russian Air Force to maintain its operational inventory of light fighter aircraft.
According to the UAC, an order for the MiG-35S from the Russian Air Force is now scheduled to occur in 2016. The company expects that around 100 MiG-35S fighters will be procured in the short term.
Although the MiG-29SMT is already in service with the Russian Air Force, this is Russia's first order for the aircraft. The Russian Air Force received 28 MiG-29SMTs between 2009 and 2010, although these were aircraft originally ordered for Algeria, which subsequently rejected the aircraft.
According RAC MiG, the MiG-29SMT is "well proven in operations and has a significantly expanded range of weapons to attack both air and ground targets", compared with early 'Fulcrum' variants.
The most visible external difference between the MiG-29SMT and other 'Fulcrum' aircraft is the extended fuel-tank in the spine of the aircraft, which doubles the mission radius of the MiG-29SMT variant when operating in an air superiority role to 836 n miles (1,550 km; 963 miles). Internally the MiG-29SMT features a significantly improved systems fit. The airframe of the MiG-29SMT is, however, the original 'Flanker' airframe, rather than the newer, lighter, 9.15 aluminium-lithium alloy airframe of the MiG-29M. The 16 aircraft ordered are understood to be new build.