Russia will fly the prototype next-generation strategic bomber in 2019 and develop a new interceptor by 2020 to replace the MiG-31 fleet. Addressing the media on Russian Air Force Day (August 12) the service’s commander, Gen. Victor Bondarev, also said a new combat aircraft with forward-swept wings is under development and could emerge soon as a prototype.
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, a UAC subsidiary, comes to the Farnborough 2014 show boosted by a new Russian order for 16 MiG-29SMT single-seat, multirole fighters due for delivery by the end of 2016. Signing the $495 million order, Russia’s deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov said, “This order will make MiG feel more secure and look to the future with greater hopes…and provide a good starting point for setting up production of newer aircraft, such as the MiG-35.”
The successful consolidation of key parts of Russia’s aerospace industry into the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is more evident at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow then at any time since the group’s formation back in February 2006.
The Russian unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) program revealed as long ago as 2007 may have reached the flight test phase. The evidence comes from a near midair over Arkhangelskoye on February 17, reported by the pilots of two L-29 jet trainers belonging to a civilian flying club based at the Barataevka airfield near Ulyanovsk. The L-29 pilots rapidly altered heading and altitude to escape collision with an unidentified flying object that they described as “a heavyweight unmanned air vehicle”.
As part of enhanced collective measures agreed to by member countries in April, NATO has deployed more fighters to eastern Europe in response to the continuing crisis in Ukraine. France and Canada have dispatched aircraft this week, while a new NATO multinational team is taking over the enhanced air defense detachment in the Baltic republics.
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG and Aviadvigatel have confirmed that work continues on “radical modernization” of the MiG-31 Foxhound, with the focus on extending the performance of the aging, out-of-production Mach 3 interceptor so that it can carry out not only air-defense duties but also serve the recently established VKO, the Russian acronym for the country’s Air and Space Defense (Command). Under a directive from the Russian defense ministry, RAC MiG is working on new versions of the aircraft that are more capable than the current MiG-31BM.
Bulgaria’s small air defense force has been scrambled numerous times in the last two months to meet a growing number of surveillance flights being launched by Russia over the Black Sea following developments in Ukraine, according to minister of defense Angel Naidenov. Although none of the flights violated Bulgarian airspace, they approached and flew along the coast and were operating without flight plans, in turn requiring investigation.
The current political climate and government austerity measures in Malaysia mean that a number of programs for the Malaysian armed forces look likely to be postponed until the time frame of the 11th Malaysia Plan, which covers government spending for the period of 2016-2020. A combination of public dissatisfaction over the cutting of government subsidies and the government’s need to balance an increasing deficit has made spending on military procurement politically unviable at the moment.
The Indian navy ship Vikramaditya successfully completed testing recently and, after final adjustments and painting at Sevmash Dockyards in northwest Russia, was due to be handed over to a Indian navy crew of 1,326 that is eagerly awaiting the November 15 handover ceremony, just before the Dubai show.
Flight trials of the MiG-29K on the INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) in the Barents Sea have been completed. Deliveries of the naval version of the fighter to India continue, with the carrier to follow on November 15, and the Russian Navy will soon receive its first MiG-29K.
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