The MiG-29 (ver. 9-12A) is a single-seat, twin-engined, supersonic, air superiority fighter aircraft, of metal, and partially composite, construction.
The fuselage is of semi-monococque construction of variable cross-section. The MiG-29 is a high-wing monoplane with twin tailfins. The aft section of its fuselage house two RD-33 afterburning turbofan engines. The landing gear is the retractable tricycle type.
The MiG-29 is designed to seek and destroy aerial targets in all-weather conditions. The aircraft is equipped with an optical-electronic targeting/navigation system, featuring the N‑019 ‘Rubin’ pulse Doppler radar. For aerial target detection the aircraft is fitted with KOLS-29 infrared search/track sensor (search range up to 18 km) and laser range finder (search range up to 6,5 km). When visual contact with a target is acquired, the pilot can take advantage of the NSC Shchel-3UM helmet-mounted sighting and target designator, coupled with the NVU-2M targeting sight.
For self-defence, MiG-29 uses SPO-15 ‘Beryoza’ radar warning receiver, with sensors on wingroot extensions, port fin and wingtips, as well as the passive countermeasures system featuring BVP-30-26 chaff/flare dispensers, built into the upper surfaces of the main wing. The pilot is additionally supported by the ‘Natasha’ voice information reporting system. The communication is maintained via the VHF/UHF R‑862 type radio.
The MiG-29 is armed with GSh-30-1 type 30 mm cannon in port wingroot leading-edge extension, with 150 rounds. It also features six pylons for external stores, which can carry guided and unguided rocket missiles, 50-500 kg bombs, napalm tanks and KMGU-2 submunitions dispensers.
The MiG-29’s prototype was first flown in 1977 and the design entered mass production in 1982. The first Russian fighter unit was issued MiG-29s in August 1983. In the years to follow, the construction was successively upgraded, notably in case of onboard electronics. In April 1981, a two-seat trainer version took to the air, designated MiG-29 UB.
Poland received its first seven MiG-29s in the summer of 1989. They were issued to the 1st Squadron of the ‘Warsaw’ Fighter Wing in the town of Minsk Mazowiecki. Five more aircraft were purchased in October 1990, along with three MiG-29 UBs. In December 1995 the 1st PLM received ten MiG-29s from Czech Republic (including one MiG-29 UB), in exchange for the “Sokol” (‘Falcon’) helicopters.
On 22nd February 1999, eight modernized MiG-29s of 1st PLM were declared ready for co-operation with the NATO’s Rapid Deployment Forces. Those aircraft were upgraded with the SC-10 IFF (identification, friend or foe) system (the standard NATO’s Mark XII system), anti-collision strobe light system, new digital R-862 radio station control panel (which enables the pilot to take readings of operating frequency and to change frequency of the given channel during the flight), as well as the AP Trimble 2101 Plus GPS systems (providing the satellite navigation). Further 23 MiG-29s (consisting 4 ver. UB) reached Poland on the basis of the Polish-German agreement. On 23rd September 2003, at the Luftwaffe base in Laage by Rostock, the first former German MiG-29s were taken over by the Polish Air Force. They landed in Poland on 30th September 2003. Four more aircraft were brought from Germany on 11th December 2003, followed by another four on 14th April 2004. The last nine German MiG-29s were received by Poland on 4th August 2004. After a major overhaul in the WZL-2 – Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze (Military Aircraft Works) No. 2 – in Bydgoszcz, the aircraft will be assigned to the 41st Tactical Air Support Squadron in Malbork. Generally, Polish Air Force has 45 of MiG-29.
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