Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Russian Pride Western Envy MiG Fighters Long Illustrious History

Mikoyan-I-Gurevich design bureau is a Russian military aircraft design bureau primarily for fighter aircraft. It was formerly a Soviet design bureau founded by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, known as “MIG.”

On December 8, 1939, Artyom Mikoyan was appointed head of KB-1 (Design Bureau) and deputy chief designer of Plant No. 1. That day is now celebrated as the founding date of the Mikoyan Design Bureau, currently part of the Russian aircraft building corporation MiG, and the birthday of MiG planes.

Mikoyan Design Bureau, one of the best known Russian design bureaus, has developed 450 combat planes since its establishment. Russia’s aircraft plants have built a total of 45,000 MiG planes, and 11,000 of them have been exported.


The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1 (Микоян-Гуревич МиГ-1) was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II that was designed to meet a requirement for a high-altitude fighter issued in 1939. To minimize demand on strategic materials such as aluminum, the aircraft was mostly constructed from steel tubing and wood. Flight testing revealed an number of deficiencies, but it was ordered into production before they could be fixed. Although difficult to handle, one hundred were built.

In 1940, the plant’s engineers, led by Artyom Mikoyan (jointly with Mikhail Gurevich), developed a MiG-3 modification. It was a development of the MiG-1 by the OKO (opytno-konstrooktorskiy otdel — Experimental Design Department) of Zavod (Factory) No. 1 to remedy problems that had been found during the MiG-1's development and operations. It replaced the MiG-1 on the production line at Factory No. 1 on 20 December 1940 and was built in large numbers during 1941 before Factory No. 1 was converted to build the Ilyushin Il-2. Between 1940 and 1941, the MiG-3 fought in the initial stages of World War II. The Russian ace pilot Alexander Pokryshkin flew one in his first battle.It received many modifications in the next two years. 3422 MIG-1s and MIG-3s were built. In WW-II, many MIG pilots rammed German bombers after running out of ammo. Pilots were ordered to “stop the bombers by any means.” The MIG-1 and MIG-3 were also used for ground attack, however they were better high altitude interceptors with limitations in low altitude performance. Speed was reported at 398 mph. The 1 and 3 carried machine guns. The MIG-3 was actually a highly modified MIG-1. Spin and stall conditions were dangerous. Three MIG-3s intercepted a German recon. Plane, and all three crashed from uncontrollable spins. Many variants were used, one with a six bladed prop. A restored MIG-3 actually flew a aerobatic routine at the 2007 Airshow.

MIG-5 was probably the most incorrectly reported Russian aircraft. The name“MIG-5” was reserved, however it was actually a twin engine aircraft which never used the MIG-5 designation. This plane was given the designation MIG-DIS-T. Only two were built and the entire MIG-5 production was quickly cancelled. The MIG was having a rough time getting started. The inconsistent modifications of the MIG-5, variants of the MIG-1, then the confusion of introducing the twin engine “escort fighter,” led to the cancellation of the whole program. As far as we know only two MIG-5 variant of the MIG-3 were built. They were never used.


Artyom Mikoyan was one of the jet aviation pioneers in the U.S.S.R. After the war ended he began developing high-speed and supersonic tactical jet fighters, many of which had long production runs and were standard equipment in the Air Force. One of them was the MiG-9(NATO name Fargo).During a meeting at the Kremlin in February 1945, Stalin summoned the chief designers of all the fighter teams and complained about poor performance in the USSR's implementation of jet technology. He ordered that the first generation of Soviet jet fighters was to be equipped with German engines. MiG were instructed to use the BMW 003 engine, while the Yak team were instructed to use Jumo engines. Because the BMW engines were smaller than the Lyulkas originally intended for the MiG-9, the fighter's airframe had to be reduced in diameter. The MiG and Sukhoi teams were also instructed that their aircraft had to incorporate a 37mm Nudelman NS-37 cannon.The MiG-9 was deployed largely in the ground-attack role and 610 aircraft were built in different versions by the time production ended in 1948.

On March 10, 1942, the Russian Air Force approved the preliminary project of the MIG-11 fighter, powered by an AM-37 engine. They had various difficulties in obtaining the proper engine so an AM-38F was installed in aircraft # 1 permitting the first test stage and to get preliminary results. The aircraft was meant for active air battles at all altitudes. Armament consisted of two synchronous 20mm cannon, each with 150 shells. First aircraft prototype was built in 1942, and made its first flight on Dec. 26, 1942. Test pilot A.I. Zhukov. The aircraft was damaged on landing. Aircraft # 2 was damaged in a forced landing. Final installation of the AM-39 engine improved performance, but engine failure and inability to acquire a new AM-39 put an end to the tests. The aircraft was transformed eventually into the first I-225 prototype. The problems continued.

The MiG-15 (NATO name Fagot) was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in daylight. The MiG-15 also served as the starting point for development of the more advanced MiG-17 which was still an effective threat to supersonic American fighters over North Vietnam in the 1960s. The MiG-15 is believed to have been the most widely produced jet aircraft ever made, with over 12,000 built.

It cannot be disputed that the MIG-15 changed the Korean war abruptly. First of all the thousands of Chinese troops that stormed across the Yalu pushed our forces back, and just about wiped out our Marines at the Chosin Reservoir. With the ground war going badly the swarms of MIG-15s crossed the border by the hundreds, changing the final picture. The MIG-15 with its three cannons, 670mph speed, exceptional altitude capability, plus being flown by Russia’s finest delivered the final blow to our aging B-29 fleet. The MIG-15 with their cannons became the B-29s worst nightmare.

The MiG-17 (NATO name: Fresco) (China:Shenyang J-5) (Poland: PZL-Mielec Lim-6) was a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. Most MiG-17 variants cannot carry air-to-air missiles, but shot down many aircraft with its cannons. It is an advanced development of the very similar appearing MiG-15 of the Korean War, and was used as an effective threat against supersonic fighters of the United States in the Vietnam War. It was also briefly known as the "Type 38", by USAF designation prior to the development of NATO codesTop speed reported at 711 at 10,000 ft. It used three cannons. This aircraft was used by at least 25 countries. It was used successfully in Vietnam because of it’s agility and powerful firepower.

The MiG-19(NATO name: Farmer) was a Soviet second-generation, single-seat, twin jet-engined fighter aircraft. It was the first Soviet production aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight.Initial enthusiasm for the aircraft was dampened by several problems. The most alarming of these was the danger of a midair explosion due to overheating of the fuselage fuel tanks located between the engines. Deployment of airbrakes at high speeds caused a high-g pitch-up. Elevators lacked authority at supersonic speeds. The high landing speed of 230 km/h (145 mph) (compared to 160 km/h (100 mph) in the MiG-15), combined with absence of a two-seat trainer version, slowed pilot transition to the type. Handling problems were addressed with the second prototype, "SM-9/2", which added a third ventral airbrake and introduced all-moving tailplanes with a damper to prevent pilot-induced oscillations at subsonic speeds. It flew on 16 September 1954, and entered production as the MiG-19S.

Approximately 5,500 MiG-19s were produced, first in the USSR and in Czechoslovakia as the Avia S-105, but mainly in the People's Republic of China as the Shenyang J-6. The aircraft saw service with a number of other national air forces, including those of Cuba, North Vietnam, Egypt, Pakistan, and North Korea. The aircraft saw combat during the Vietnam War, the 1967 Six Day War, and the 1971 Bangladesh War.In July 1960 a MIG-19 shot down an RB-47H. This was the first loss of a U.S. aircraft to a MIG-19. In 1965 a U.S. 104-STARFIGHTER took hits from MIG-19 cannon fire.


The MiG-21 (NATO name Fishbed) is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed "balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or ołówek (English: pencil) by Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage. Early versions are considered second-generation jet fighters, while later versions are considered to be third-generation jet fighters. Some 50 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The fighter made aviation records. At least by name, it is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and it had the longest production run of a combat aircraft.More than 10,000 MIG-21s have been built. Speed reported at 1385 mph (mach 2.1). One twin barreled 23mm cannon and one single barreled NR-30. Rate of climb: 58,000 ft. in one minute.

MiG-23(NATO name "FLogger") is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau in the Soviet Union. It is considered to belong to the Soviet third generation jet fighter category, along with similar-aged Russian-produced fighters such as the MiG-25 "Foxbat". It was the first attempt by the Soviet Union to design look-down/shoot-down radar and one of the first to be armed with beyond visual range missiles, and the first MiG production fighter plane to have intakes at the sides of the fuselage. Production started in 1970 and reached large numbers with over 5,000 aircraft built. Today the MiG-23 remains in limited service with various export customers.

The MiG-25(NATO name Foxbat) is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. Designed by the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau the first prototype flew in 1964 with entry into service in 1970. With a top speed of Mach 2.83+, a powerful radar and four air-to-air missiles, the aircraft concerned U.S. observers and prompted the development of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle in late 1960s. (The MiG-25 could reach Mach 3.2, but resulted in the destruction of the engines.)

The MiG-25,originating in the late 50s as a response to the ambitious Lockheed YF-12A development. Referred to inside the OKB as the Ye-155P-1 (P for Perekhvatchik or Interceptor), the prototype was powered by two Mikulin-Tumansky R-15B-300 turbojets (rated at 10,210 kg thrust with afterburner with a service life of only 150 hours). It's first flight was in September.

To achive Mach 3 requires not only powerful engines, but the airframe also has to withstand the heat barrier wit airflow temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius. The aircraft structure was therefore made of welded steel and skinned partly with titanium and D19 duralumin, which was revealed for the first time to the West when Victor Belenko defected with his MiG-25P to Japan, landing at Hakodate Airport in September 1976.

Mass production of the MiG-25P Foxbat-A interceptor commenced in 1969 but the type didn't enter service with the Soviet Air Force until 1973, to be followed by the improved MiG-25PD in 1978. The Tumansky engineers also managed to extend engine service life in stages to 1000 hours.

With the MiG-25's impressive operational envelope, the obvious step was to develop the type into a high-altitude supersonic reconnaissance aircraft. It was designed and built in 1961 to 1962 as the Ye-155R-1. The prototype was first flown in March 1964, powered by the same Tumansky R-15BD-300 engine type fitted to the MiG-25P.

The Ye-155R-1 engine entered into production in 1969 at the Gorki factory as the MiG-25R Foxbat-B, followed one year later by the MiG-25RB, giving the type a bombing capability. All MiG-25Rs already built were upgraded with retrofit kits to the standard of the MiG-25RB reconnaissance/bomber variant, which was further developed in several specialized subtypes.

The MiG-25RB has no defensive armament but relies on its Mach 3 speed and operating ceiling of above 70,000 feet to escape any attacker. Two left-to-right rotating cameras of a focal length of 650 mm and/or 13000 mm can be fitted in the three interchangeable camera bays located in the nose cone of the aircraft. The two cameras shoot through two port and two starboard windows, and a vertical camera with a shorter focal length is located under the cockpit to make the horizon-to-horizon shots.

The aircraft is also equipped with a number of electromagnetic-spectrum sensors along with a larger and more capable side-looking airborne radar (SLAR). The MiG-25RB can also carry up to six 500 kg bombs, four under the wings and two under the fuselage. With a length of over 22 metres, the MiG-25 is as long as a Fokker F-27 Friendship.

As the MiG-25 represented an entirely new performance envelope for combat pilots, a dedicated conversion trainer was developed. Named MiG-25U, which first flew in 1973 and entered service soon after, it differed from the standard MiG-25 variants in having a totally redesigned forward fuselage component containing two seperate cockpits. The type has no SLAR nor any reconnaissance capability and is solely used for conversion training. Algeria, Bulgaria, Iraq and Syria were other export customers of the MiG-25RB, and more than 700 MiG-25 of all variants had been built when production came to an end in late 1984.

MiG-27 (NATO name Flogger)Single engine variable sweep fighter. One twin barrel 23mm cannon, plus up to eight air missiles. A variant of the MIG-23, optimized for the ground attack role. This version of the MIG-23 had a new nose, simpler engine intakes and nozzle, plus other modifications which limited supersonic performance, but reduced cost, weight, and fuel consumption.Originally built by the Mikoyan design bureau in the Soviet Union and later license-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics as the Bahadur ("Valiant").



MiG-29 (NATO 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 fighter is equipped with seven external weapon hardpoints.The aircraft can carry: up to two R-27 air-to-air medium-range missiles; six R-73 and R-60 air-to-air short range missiles; four pods of S-5, S-8, S-24 unguided rockets; air bombs weighing up to 3,000kg; and 30mm built-in aircraft gun with 150 rounds of ammunition.

The R-27 medium-range air-to-air missile is supplied by the Vympel State Engineering Design Bureau, based in Moscow. The R-27 is available in two configurations: the R-27R, which has a semi-active radar homing head and inertial navigation control with a radio link; and the R-27T missile, which is fitted with an infrared homing head.The missile can intercept targets with a speed of up to 3,500km/h at altitudes from 0.02-27km, and the maximum vertical separation between the aircraft and the target is 10km. The Vympel R-73 missile is an all-aspect, short-range air-to-air missile known by the Nato codename AA-11 Archer. The missile has cooled infrared homing and can intercept targets at altitudes between 0.02 and 20km, target g-load to 12g, and with target speeds to 2,500km/h.

The Vympel R-60 (Nato codename AA-8 Aphid) short-range air-to-air missile can engage targets manoeuvring at an acceleration up to 12g. The R-60M has an expanded range of target designation angles to ±20°, a heavier warhead and an upgraded infrared homing head with photodetector cooling.

The aircraft is equipped with an information and fire control radar system comprising: an N-019 radar developed by Phazotron Research and Production Company, Moscow; an infrared search and track sensor; a laser rangefinder; and a helmet-mounted target designator.

For longer-range air combat, the MiG-29 uses radar guidance for the R-27 missile.

Thales TopSight-E helmet-mounted sight and display (HMDS) is being fitted to aircraft for the Indian Navy.

The MiG-29 is equipped with two RD-33 turbofan engines. The MiG-29 is the world's first aircraft fitted with dual-mode air intakes. During flight, the open air intakes feed air to the engines. While moving on the ground, the air intakes are closed and air is fed through the louvres on the upper surface of the wing root to prevent ingestion of foreign objects from the runway. This is particularly important when operating from poorly prepared airfields.

The engines provide a maximum speed of 2,400km/h at altitude and 1,500km/h near the ground and the service ceiling is 18,000m. The maximum range at altitude is 1,500km and 700km near the ground.

RD-33 engines for Indian Air Force MiG-29 aircraft are to be license-built in India, under an agreement signed in January 2007.

There are in the region of 600 MiG-29 variants in service with the Russian Air Force.The fighter is also in service with the air forces of Algeria (30 aircraft), Bangladesh (eight), Belarus (50), Bulgaria (20), Cuba (18), Eritrea (five), Germany (23), Hungary (21), India (70), Iran (35), Kazakhstan (40), Malaysia (16), Myanmar (ten), North Korea (35), Peru (18), Poland (18), Romania (15), Slovakia (23), Syria (50), Sudan (ten), Turkmenistan (20), Ukraine (220), Uzbekistan (30) and Yemen (24).

"The mission of the MiG-29 is to destroy hostile air targets within radar coverage limits."
The 22 MiG-29 aircraft in the German Air Force have been leased to the Polish Air Force. The first five were handed over in September 2003 and deliveries concluded in August 2004.

16 new MiG-29Ks have been ordered (12 single-seat and four two-seater MiG-29KUB) by India to equip the INS Vikramaditya (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov) carrier bought from the Russian Navy. The first production MiG-29K made its maiden flight in March 2008 and first two batch have been delivered. the squadron has been code named "Black Panther".

Mig-31 (Nato name Foxhound) is two seat all weather interceptor. Up to eight air to air missiles, no cannon. A variant of the MIG-25, entered service in 1983. 500 produced, now upgraded to MIG-31 M. Maximum speed 1860 mph (mach 2.83). Armament 23mm cannon, long range air-to-air missiles, plus anti radiation missiles in the suppression of enemy air defense. Has digital encrypted data exchange line, is capable of up to four simultaneously attacked targets.

Russian Description
The two-seat supersonic MIG-31E fighter is a combat aircraft which has no analogues over the world. It is capable:
  1. To combat in group air fights at the distances which are inaccessible for any other fighter over the world.
  2. To realize the network-centric methods of controlling the combat operations in air when engaging within heterogeneous grouping of warfare means.
  3. To perform the long-range flights with speed of 3000 KM/h (M=2.83) at high altitudes.

MiG-35(NATO name Fulcrum F)Development of the MiG-29 Fulcrum with larger wings, canards, upgraded cockpit and thrust vectoring engines. The engines have been moved backwards to make more room for fuel in the fuselage. The MiG-35 is classified as a 4++ generation jet fighter and and now classed as a medium-weight aircraft because its maximum take-off weight increased by 30 percent.The fighter has vastly improved avionics and weapon systems, notably the new AESA radar and the uniquely designed Optical Locator System (OLS), relieves the aircraft from relying on ground-controlled interception (GCI) systems and enables it to conduct independent multi-role missions. A prototype made its first flight in February 1997, the final design was first presented uring the Aero India 2007 air show.


The MiG-35 (NATO reporting name Fulcrum-F) is the production version of the latest MiG-29 with the proven thrust vectoring engine that uses fly-by-wire technology. The aircraft uses the airframe of the MiG-29M1 and was formerly known as the MiG-29OVT (MiG-29M2 and MiG-29MRCA refer to the twin seater development). This latest fighter is more agile and has an increased range of more than 2100 kilometres. It also features improved avionics, vast improvements in weapon systems, HOTAS systems, wide range of weapons of air to air and air to ground, as well as a variety of defensive and offensive avionics suite. It is no longer tied to the GCI system and is able to conduct operations independently. It has eight weapon pylons and is able to refuel as well as carry three external fuel tanks. The aircraft is being marketed under the designation MiG-35 for potential export. Russia is promoting the aircraft to various countries like Syria, Libya, Iran, Algeria, Sudan, Brazil, Peru, to name a few.

Responding to earlier criticism, the new design is also substantially more reliable than the previous variants. The airframe lifetime and its service life have been extended and it is fitted with new engines with longer mean time between overhauls, resulting in a decrease in flight-hour cost of almost 2.5 times compared to those of the old variants. The new engines are now smokeless and include a FADEC type electronic control system for better performance. All aspect vector nozzles which had been demonstrated on MiG-29OVT are optional. Other technological improvements introduced to enhance the aircraft's ability to conduct independent operations are for example an airborne oxygen generation plant a new multifunction self-protection jammer.

The most important changes are the Phazotron Zhuk-AE active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the RD-33MK engines and the newly designed Optical Locator System (OLS). Other obvious changes in the cockpit are the reduction in analog electronics.

Powerplant : The RD-33MK "Morskaya Osa" ("Sea Wasp") was installed by the new modification. It is the latest version of the RD-33 and was intended to power the MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB. It has 7% more power compared to the baseline model due to the use of modern materials in the cooled blades, providing a higher thrust of 9,000 kgf. In response to earlier criticism, the new engines are smokeless and include systems that reduce infrared and optical visibility. The engines may be fitted with vectored-thrust nozzles, which would result an increase in combat efficiency by 12 to 15%. With the vectored thrust nozzles, the engines are designated RD-33OVT and will allow the Mig-35 to be the first twin-engine aircraft with vectoring nozzles that can move in all axes. Other existing thrust vectoring aircraft, like the Su-30MKI and the F-22, all feature two-dimensional vectoring nozzles.

Cockpit : Analog electronics are minimized, being replaced by 3 equal-size colour LCD multi-function displays (MFDs) and an additional display for the OLS (the MiG-35D rear cockpit has four LCDs).

Sensors : New modifications include the newly rolled-out Phazotron Zhuk-AE active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and an optronic complex consisting of the newly designed OLS to replace the previous IRST sensor, an additional OLS under the right air intake, and a pair of laser emission detectors on each wing tip. The Phazotron Zhuk-AE AESA radar offers a wider range of operating frequencies, providing more resistance to electronic countermeasures (ECM), more detection range, more air and ground targets detected, tracked and able to be engaged simultaneously. The radar is thought to have detection range of 160 km for air targets and 300 km for ships.

The OLS, a new development from space technologies, incorporates a helmet-mounted target designation system providing targeting solutions for both ground and air targets in the forward and aft hemispheres of the aircraft. The most vital difference from the previous IRST sensor is that the new device provides not only a better operation range but also offers manually switchable display options of IR view, TV mode or a mix of both that significantly improves man-machine coordination. The OLS on the nose serves as the IRST while the OLS under the right air intake serves as the ground strike designator.

In air combat, the optronic suite allows:

  1. Detection of non-after burning targets at 45 km range and more;
  2. Identification of those targets at 8 to 10 km range; and
  3. Estimates of aerial target range at up to 15 km.

For ground targets, the suite allows:

  1. A tank-effective detection range up to 15 km, and aircraft carrier detection at 60 to 80 km;
  2. Identification of the tank type on the 8 to 10 km range, and of an aircraft carrier at 40 to 60 km; and
  3. Estimates of ground target range of up to 20 km.

The defensive system equipment consists of radar reconnaissance, electronic countermeasures, and optical systems (notably the laser emission detector on each wingtip) which are able to detect and evaluate the approaching danger and operate decoy dispensers to counteract the approaching threat in the radar and infrared ranges.