More Industrial Guarantees: Russia Buying 16 MiG-29 Fighters
RIA Novosti reports that Russia is buying another 16 MiG-29SMT multi-role fighters, in order to help keep MiG-related technical expertise and infrastructure active until 2016. In August 2013, Russia’s VVS was forced to postpone its planned $1.1 billion MiG-35 buy from state-owned United Aircraft Corp. The new fighter just wasn’t ready, but MiG is a bit squeezed these days. Its main sources of work include carrier-based MiG-29K orders from Russian naval aviation (AVFR) and India, and ongoing upgrades to India’s land-based MiG-29 fleet. Other potential customers could add new orders, including a likely Serbian buy, but Russia needs more fighters, and UAC needs more certainty.
The MiG-29SMT is fully multi-role, unlike early MiG-29 models, and carries extra fuel in an expanded spine. The most prominent differences between it and the MiG-35 are the latter’s addition of an AESA radar, and in-flight thrust vectoring. Sources: RIA Novosti, “Russian Military to Buy 16 MiG-29SMT Fighter Jets – Report” and “MiG-35 Deal Delayed Amid Defense Industry Problems – Minister” | InSerbia, “Serbia to get “invisible” MiG 29M2 soon” | UAC, MiG-29SMT and MiG-35.