New Fulcrums

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The first Egyptian Air Force MiG-29M2 to fly from Lukhovitsy near Moscow was two-seat MiG-29M2 811.
Piotr Butowski

Pre-production examples of new MiG- 29M and MiG-35 fighters are continuing flight-testing in Russia. Simultaneously, production of the first batch of MiG-29Ms for Egypt is in progress. Egypt has ordered 46 single-seat MiG-29M and two-seat MiG- 29M2 fighters; the first ones should be delivered to the customer this year.

Six fighters are currently in flight test, two in Egyptian, two in Syrian and two in Russian configuration. The Egyptian aircraft flew for the first time in March 2017; first to get airborne was two-seat MiG-29M2 811, followed by single-seat MiG-29M 801. Later photographs of single-seat aircraft 8704, a production aircraft of the batch for Egypt, appeared. Egyptian pilots and ground crews are undergoing training at the plant producing the MiG-29Ms in Lukhovitsy near Moscow.

Pre-production aircraft configured for the Russian Air Force are the single-seat MiG- 35S 702 that first flew on November 24, 2016, followed by the two-seat MiG-35UB 712 one week later (see AIR International, March 2017). Prior to that, two prototypes built for the currently inactive contract with Syria for 12 MiG-29M and MiG-29M2 fighters, signed as early as November 2006, have been flight-tested. Two-seat MiG- 29M2 747 has been flying since December 24, 2011, followed by single-seat MiG-29M 741 on February 3, 2012. Mikoyan design bureau’s internal designations for the original configuration of Syrian aircraft are izdeliye 9.41S for the single-seat and 9.47S for the two-seat; Egypt’s aircraft are designated 9.41SM and 9.47SM (two-seat), and Russia’s are 9.41SR and 9.47SR (two-seat). Externally, the Russian and Egyptian aircraft differ from the Syrian prototypes with an aerial refuelling probe fitted. Internally, each type has a different configuration to comply with the respective requirements of the Russian and Egyptian Air Forces. Egypt’s MiG-29M aircraft use a targeting system developed for and proven on the shipborne MiG-29K made for India, including a slotted planar array FGM129SM Zhuk-M1SE radar coupled with a I-219/ESM OLS-UE infrared search and track (IRST) sensor and a NSTsI-KOS-SM helmet-mounted display. Egypt has also ordered I-220/KESM targeting pods with electro-optical, midwave thermal imaging and laser channels, as well as a laser spot detector. For selfdefence, Egypt’s MiG-29SM is configured with the I-222SM missile launch and approach warning suite that includes a set of six infrared sensors: one forward-looking, mounted near the IRST; one aft-looking, mounted on the fuselage spine behind the cockpit; two on the sides of the forward fuselage; and two sensors observing the space below the aircraft, one forward- and one rearward-looking, mounted in a fixed pod on the port side of the fuselage, and a L150M-02 Pastel radar warning receiver. The aircraft has two launchers, each with capacity to carry 32 chaff/flares installed in the empennage beams at the sides of the engines; decoys are ejected downwards.

Egypt’s MiG-29Ms may operate as buddybuddy tankers to refuel other fighter aircraft. The type carries a Zvezda PAZ- 1MK refuelling pod and four 1,150-litre (253-gallon) auxiliary under wing tanks. Zvezda’s 5m-long (16ft 4in) PAZ-1MK is a shortened version of the standard UPAZ-1 pod, used by the MiG-29M because the aircraft is too short to carry the full-length UPAZ-1 pod.