In the early 2000s, RSK MiG promoted a MiG-29 life extension programme for up to 4,000 hours and 40 years, compared with the type's original 2,000 hours and 25 years life. The upgrade was purchased by some export customers including the Slovakian and Bulgarian Air Force. This photo shows a single-seat Slovakian aircraft in a digital camouflage applied as a part of the upgrade programme, which also included integration of Western navigation, communication and IFF avionics.
The MiG-29 was conceived as a light-weight agile fighter with BVR capability. The aircraft can be armed with up to six missiles - two BVR R-27Rs with semi-active radar-homing seekers and four heat-seeking R-60s or R-73s for close air combat. The missile payload is complemented by a 30mm GSh-301 cannon with 150 rounds.
The Schtel-3UM helmet-mounted cueing system is slaved to the radar/IRST and missile seeker heads for accelerated cueing at off-boresight targets of the highly-agile R-73.
One of the two MiG-29K prototypes built in the late 1980s was used as the baseline for developing new shipborne Fulcrums for the Russian and Indian naval air arms.
Although marketed as a multi-role aircraft, the big-spine MiG-29SMT operated by the Russian Air Force cannot employ laser-guided bombs or air-to-ground missiles because it lacks a suitable targeting and laser designation pod.
All 28 MiG-29SMTs currently operated by the Russian Air Force were inherited in 2009 and 2010 from the cancelled Algerian contract.
The initial full-standard MiG-29SMT demonstrator made its first flight after being converted from the MiG-29SE demonstrator on July, 1998. It is shown armed with an active radar-guided RVV-AE missile and a Kh-29T TV-guided air-to-surface missile.
Indian Air Force MiG-29UPG prototype KBU3301 with an inert Kh-35E anti-ship missile was used for aerodynamic trials. The aircraft's new dorsal tank pack, a component of the SMT and UPG upgrades, is clearly visible in primer paint.
МиГ-29СМТ теперь оснащен авионикой, созданной в Раменском приборном КБ
The MiG-29SMT's cockpit incorporates two multi-function colour displays and numerous analogue instruments in the centre of the console.
A pair of MiG-29UBs from the Lipetsk training centre roll-out after landing at Kubinka Air Force Base in July 2013.
The MiG-29SMT's arsenal of unguided and guided weapons includes the Kh-31A high-speed anti-ship missile and a KAB-500Kr 1,100 lb (500kg) TV-guided bomb, as seen on the right side of this photo.
A group of Belorussian MiG-29s at Machulishi Air Force Base in the Minsk region assigned to the 61 Fighter Base prepare to conduct a flypast over Minsk on July 3, 2014.
A close-up of the two main air-to-air missile types used by the classic Fulcrum: the R-27R SARH-guided BVR missile suspended inboard and the highly agile, heat-seeking R-73 on the other two pylons.
The MiG-29’s Klimov RD-33 is efficient in cruise flight and an impressive afterburner power rating but suffers from a low TBO and produces a pronounced smoke trail on transient modes between idle and military power settings, as illustrated by these humpback RuAF MiG-29s at Lipetsk.
The lightweight R-60 air-to-air missile is used by a number of MiG-29 operators mainly for practice firings: it has been superseded by the more capable R-73.
The cockpit of the classic Fulcrum is populated by numerous analogue instruments which pilots believe are better ergonomically than those on its MiG-21 and MiG-23 predecessors.
The MiG-29K, a dedicated shipborne multi-role fighter, is currently being produced for the Indian and Russian naval air arms.