FLY THE MIG 29 FULCRUM
The Mikoyan MiG-29 – NATO reporting name: “Fulcrum” – is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union for an air superiority role. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other nations. The NATO name “Fulcrum” was sometimes unofficially used by Soviet pilots in service. The MiG-29, along with the Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter new American fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.
In 1969 the existence of the United States Air Force’s “F-X” program, which would result in the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, became public knowledge. At the height of the Cold War, a Soviet response was necessary to avoid the possibility of a new American fighter gaining a serious technological advantage over existing Soviet fighters, thus the development of a new air superiority fighter became a priority. Specifications were extremely ambitious, calling for long range, good short-field performance (including the ability to use austere runways), excellent agility, Mach 2+ speed, and heavy armament.
The MiG-29B production version entered service in August 1983 at the Kubinka air base. State acceptance trials were completed in 1984, and deliveries began the same year to the Soviet Air Force. While the heavy, long range Su-27 was tasked with the more exotic and dangerous role of deep air-to-air sweeps of NATO high-value assets, the smaller MiG-29 directly replaced the MiG-23 in the frontal aviation role. Features such as rugged landing gear and protective intake grates allowed MiG-29 operations from damaged or under-prepared airstrips that Soviet war planners expected to encounter during a rapid armored advance. The MiG-29 was to be an escort for local strike and interdiction air packages, protecting vulnerable ground attack aircraft from NATO fighters such as the F-15 and F-16. The MiG-29 was positioned relatively close to the front lines, and would have been tasked with providing local air superiority to advancing Soviet motorized army units.
In the West, the new fighter was given the NATO reporting name “Fulcrum-A” because the pre-production MiG-29A, which should have logically received this designation, remained unknown in the West at that time. The Soviet Union did not assign official names to most of its aircraft, although nicknames were common. Unusually, some Soviet pilots found the MiG-29’s NATO reporting name, “Fulcrum”, to be a flattering description of the aircraft’s intended purpose, and it is sometimes unofficially used in Russian service.
The Mig 29 Fulcrum is one of the best fighter jets built so far. 39 countries have equipped their air force with this unique fighter plane. It flies easily at Mach 2.25 and has a service ceiling of 60,000ft. It has an amazing rate of climb of 65,000ft/mn. Flying the Mig 29 is a truly incredible experience.
Crew: One, can take passenger
Length: 17.37 m (57 ft)
Wingspan: 11.4 m (37 ft 3 in)
Height: 4.73 m (15 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 38 m² (409 ft²)
Empty weight: 11,000 kg (24,250 lb)
Loaded weight: 16,800 kg (37,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 21,000 kg (46,300 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Klimov RD-33 afterburning turbofans, 8,300 kgf (81.4 kN, 18,300 lbf) each
Maximum speed: Mach 2.25 (2,400 km/h, 1,490 mph) At low altitude: 1,500 km/h, 930 mph
Range: 700 km (430 mi)
Ferry range: 2,100 km (1,800 mi) with 1 drop tank
Service ceiling: 18,013 m (59,100 ft)
Rate of climb: initial 330 m/s average 109 m/s 0-6000 m (65,000 ft/min)
Wing loading: 442 kg/m² (90.5 lb/ft²)