The aircraft in the photographs is the first MiG-29KUB at the MAKS 2007 air show that I covered in August last year. As you've probably read in reports, the first four fighters are to be delivered in September. Obviously since the INS Vikramaditya itself will only be delivered in 2012 (hopefully!), the MiG-29Ks will see shore-based service for a good three years before seeing operations they were built for. The Goa Shipyards people are constructing a shore-based mock carrier deck at INS Hansa for practice and training on the Ks that should be up and running soon.
Here are some excerpts from MiG's press in March when Admiral Sureesh Mehta visited Russia:
On 18th March 2008, during the visit of India’s Chief of Naval Staff Sureesh Mehta the first serially produced MiG-29KUB (tail number 113) performed its maiden flight at the RAC «MiG» test airfield in Lukhovitsy near Moscow. The aircraft was flown by Pavel Vlasov, RAC «MiG» Chief test pilot, Hero of Russia, and Alexander Pelikh, honored test-pilot, Hero of Russia.
The ship borne fighter traditionally practiced a few taxing and take-off runs before taking to the skies for a 42-minute sortie. In the course of the sortie all aircraft design performances as per the technical requirement were validated. RAC «MiG» contract package for the delivery of the multifunctional carrier-based fighters to the Indian Navy was signed on January, 20, 2004. It envisages the delivery of 12 MiG-29К and 4 MiG-29КUB along with the training of the customer’s flight and technical crew’s, the delivery of simulators and spare parts and the setup of aircraft service support.
The contract also provides for another 30 aircraft option to be delivered by 2015. RAC «MiG» is manufacturing all the 16 series MiG-29K/KUB aircraft to be delivered to the Customer. While in Russia, Naval Chief Sureesh Mehta visited the RAC «MiG» production facilities in Lukhovitsy. He examined the aircraft manufacturing line and commented, “We are now facing the MiG-29K delivery stage.” According to the admiral, the Indian pilots are due in Russia shortly to train both on MiG-29K simulators and actual aircraft.
Single-seat MiG-29K and twin-stick MiG-29KUB are multifunctional ship borne fighters designed for the Navy units’ air defense missions, gaining air superiority, destroying ground and sea targets with the high-precision guided and unguided armament round-the-clock in any weather. The MiG-29К/КUB fighters differ from earlier produced MiG-29 aircraft by improved operational performance, increased reliability of aggregates, systems and assemblies, service life extended by over 2 times, improved fuel system capacity and increased combat load.
While creating MiG-29K/KUB airframe, power plant and avionics the most advanced technologies were employed. The share of composites within the airframe equals almost 15%. The aircraft are equipped with the updated RD-33MK engines featuring increased thrust and extended service life. The fighters’ avionics suite open architecture allows integration of the new Russian and foreign-made equipment and armament onboard the aircraft. The MiG-29К/КUB are fitted with the modern multifunctional multimode pulse-Doppler onboard radar "Zhuk-МE" and state-of-the-art optronic systems.
The representatives of the Indian MoD and Navy actively participated in finalizing the MiG-29K/KUB technical configuration. In some areas they have set up the requirements exceeding world standards. The MiG-29К/КUB aircraft are at the core of the new unificated fighters’ family, which also includes MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-35/MiG-35D. The fighters are designed by the Engineering center of the Mikoyan Design Bureau headed by Vladimir Barkovskiy, Dy Director General – General Designer of RAC «MiG».Chief designer of the MiG-29K/KUB is Nickolay Buntin
All photos by Shiv Aroor
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