Russia is slowly and gradually re-building its might. Recently, the country received the first of the MiG-29SMT ‘Fulcrum’ multi-role fighter aircraft that was ordered in April 2014, MiG Corporation has reported.
Sixteen aircraft were ordered as an extra for the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) as a stop-gap solution to compensate for delays to the MiG-35S aircraft that still has yet to be ordered. It is believed that these 16 extra planes are divided between two types, 14 units of MiG-29SMT fighters and two of MiG-29UB trainers.
The number of jets delivered to the training centre wasn’t disclosed in the MiG report. Allthough, photos on Russian aviation sites indicate at least two MiG-29SMT aircraft (Bort: Blue 20 and Blue 21) and maybe four aircraft, along with a single MiG-29UB trainer (Bort: Blue 50) were delivered to the centre in December. MiG did mention that deliveries of all 16 aircraft should be completed by the end of this year.
Russia already operates 28 MiG-29SMT fighter jets, it never ordered. Instead, they were diverted into Russian service after their intended recipient, Algeria rejected them due to quality concerns. The new aircraft are a little different to those which were built for Algeria as these are fitted with an internal Electronic Warfare (EW) suite.
Visually the MiG-29SMT can be identified easily since it has a different look. It has extended spine like the MiG-29S. This hump is there to carry extra fuel and it doubles the aircraft’s air-to-air mission radius to 836 nautical miles (1,550 km; 963 miles).
Source: IHS Jane