Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Serbia Plans To Buy 6 MiG-29M Fighter Aircraft From Russia

Serbia plans to buy 6 single and dual-seat MiG-29M/M2 fighter aircraft from Russia and pilots are already being trained in flying the aircraft, according to Aleksandar Vucic, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Serbia.

Details are to be worked out during his and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic’s visits to Russia later this month. The purchase is to be financed using Russian loans granted to Serbia.

The MiG-29M is a modernized and redesigned version of the original MiG-29, which was praised for its maneuverability but found to be deficient in almost every other facet.

The MiG-29M addresses many of these shortcomings in the MiG-29 such as short range and poor pilot interface with improvements, including:
  • Replacement of hydraulic controls with fly-by-wire in the MiG-29M
  • Increase in the amount of fuel that can be carried
  • Addition of in-flight refuelling
  • New engines with longer life and increased thrust
  • Completer redesign of the cockpit with modern avionics
  • New multi-role radar
  • Compatible with both air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, including precision-guided munitions
Like the Su-35 and Su-27, the MiG-29M is what the MiG-29 should have been. It was intended to be introduced much earlier, but the fall of the Soviet Union delayed the program by many years.

Besides Serbia, Syria had placed an order for 24 MiG-29M/M2 in 2009. However, that order has not been fulfilled by Russia and will remain so as long as the fighting continues in Syria.

Another variant based on the MiG-29M is the MiG-29K, which is designed for naval use aboard aircraft carriers. India has already some of the MiG-29K it ordered.

However, it has yet to receive the former Admiral Gorshkov, a heavily modernized Kiev class aircraft carrier, where the MiG-29K are  to be stationed. Problems with boilers were the latest in a long line of problems with the ship.

Russia also intends to use the MiG-29K aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier after it has completed a comprehensive refit and upgrade that will take several years to complete.

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