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"MiG" Sang Its "Swan Song" for the Indians

"MiG" Sang Its "Swan Song" for the Indians

Russiaat last with delay of 5 years started tests of a deck fighter for Naval Forces of India - MiG-29K. Yesterday from air station of Flight-Test Institute situated in Zhukovsky the fighter in double version CUBE (ship training-battle) rose into the sky. The first flight took place in the same place but a week earlier. The machine in demonstrative flight was piloted by the head of the program of tests Paul Vlasov and pilot-verifier Michael Beljaev. It’s impossible to call it "new" - MiG-29K was projected a quarter of a century ago in the USSR  

The main peculiarity of Indian variant of MiG-29K is that there was a long way from the Soviet prototype designed for an aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" up to present machine RSK "MiG". That is the machine which yesterday has risen in the sky in Zhukovsky actually has been designed anew. It’s really an achievement for the ruined and plundered Russian aviaprom and it would be unfair to diminish it. People worked. Though systems used in onboard radio-electronic equipment were produced in India, Israel and France and not in Russia as it used to be earlier, nevertheless RSK “MiG” demonstrated that it could reconstruct itself.

Very representative Indian delegation consisted of diplomats, military people and technical experts came to look at purely demonstrative flight. The complex contract on delivery to Naval Forces of India of multipurpose fighters of ship basing was signed in 2004. It provides delivery of twelve samples of single MiG-29K and four samples of double MiG-29CUBE as well as training of pilots and technicians. Probably, the contract will be expanded to forty six machines.

It is very important that the fighter which had arrived directly from factory air station in Lukhovitsy had not been even painted – possibly that it was done on purpose. The matter is that for a long time RSK "MiG" was used in Lukhovitsy to complete vehicle sets being assembled a lot of years ago and exposed on "ruler". The condition of industrial base in Lukhovitsy caused (and still, frankly speaking, causes) great doubts in its ability to produce series of fighters absolutely from zero – it’s impossible to produce MiG-29K on the basis of usual MiG-29. Absence of painting transparently hints that they saw future serial fighter assembled “from and up to” for Indian contract.

Deck-based planes MiG-29K are equipped by engines RD-33MK "Sea Wasp" created by "Klimov", Ltd in St.-Petersburg. "Sea Wasp" has traction power increased by 7 percents in comparison with engine RD-33, digital control system type FADEC and also the resource increased till 4 thousand hours. Owing to the new engine the plane can carry out rise from a deck of an aircraft carrier and fulfil battle tasks in conditions of a hot climate.

As director of the engineering centre "Experimental Design Bureau named after A.I.Mikoyan" Vladimir Barkovsky told, tests of separate systems and units of this fighter had been carrying out since 2002, eight planes MiG-29 of various modifications which executed about seven hundred flights had been involved in them. That is tests of MiG-29CUBE available begin not from nothing and will bring under the general denominator all the test works lheld earlier. Therefore there shouldn’t be any delays with performance of contract obligations from RSK "MiG".

However there is some slyness here. Many consider that MiG-29K will become “a swan song" of “MiG” for India as soon as a series will gather not in Lukhovitsy but on "Irkut" which actual owner is present general director of RSK “MiG" and the chapter of future "Incorporated Aviabuilding Corporation" Fedorov. While at a serial factory in Lukhovitsy another secondary contract has been already placing on reequipment of old western passenger planes into transport ones. Serial factory in Moscow (Engineering Centre named after Voronin, better known as “Znamya Nruda”) has been already accustomed by city authorities under municipal construction. May be in the given configuration Experimental Design Bureau will remain alive but only as a centre of modernization resource extension and other works connected with maintenance of already produced equipment. New fighter of the fifth generation (if such will be at last constructed in Russia), will be at least situated on “Suhoj”.
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