Designed as a mass-produced and relatively cheap light tactical fighter, the MiG-29 first flew on Oct. 6, 1977. After extensive flight testing, it entered production in 1982 and deliveries to the Soviet Air Force began in 1983. In addition to its main counter-air role, the aircraft had a useful air-to-ground capability, carrying free-fall bombs and unguided rockets. From the outset the MiG-29 had been steadily developed beyond the fourth generation with changes to the airframe, avionics and weapons systems and new variants were produced in the early 2000s.
The MiG-29 also set several world records.
As reported by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov in their book Mikoyan MiG-29 & MiG-35, on Apr. 26, 1995 Mikoyan OKB test pilot Roman P. Taskayev (who has been awarded the Hero of Russia title) set an altitude record in the 12 to 16-ton (26,455 to 35,270-lb) gross weight class, climbing to 27,460 m (90,091 ft) in a standard MiG-29. The optimum flight trajectory was calculated by Cand. Tech. Sc. Yuriy S. Vygodskiy, an aerodynamicist at ANPK MiG. In May 1995 Mikoyan OKB test pilot Oleg V. Antonovich set a payload-to-height record in a Fulcrum, climbing to an altitude in excess of 25,000 m (82,020 ft) with 1,000-kg (2,204-lb) and 2,000-kg (4,410-1b) payloads. These records were officially recognised by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale – International Aeronautics Federation) at the year’s end, substantiating the MiG-29’s excellent reputation and potential of the Russian aerospace industry and the Mikoyan Design Bureau.
Ten years later, in March 2005, Belorussian Air Force pilots Aleksandr Bochkaryov, Vyacheslav Brovshenko and Yuriy Kovalyov established no fewer than 15 world records (time-to-height records and closed-circuit speed records) in the upgraded MiG-29BM. The mission was supported by the 55th ARZ and officially sanctioned by Belorussian President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko and Minister of Defence Col.-Gen. Leonid S. Mal’tsev.
The following video titled “From the Outback to the Sky of Russia: MiG-29 High Altitude Flight” gives you an idea of what it’s like to fly the legendary Fulcrum to the Edge of Space.
Mikoyan MiG-29 & MiG-35 is published by Crecy and is available to order here.
Photo credit: Screenshot from the video
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