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march 2017 • Special edition for LIMA’17

gearing up
for maiden



Russian of 2016

Knights’ Su-30MKM

Su-30SM 10 years
in service

debut [p.18]
with RMAF

report: MiGs in Malaysia [p.34]


Prospective engine
for short/medium-haul airliners

United Engine Corporation

16, Budyonnogo avenue, Moscow, 105118, Russia
March 2017
Andrey Fomin

Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Vladimir Shcherbakov

Editor, avionics and weapons sections

Yevgeny Yerokhin

Alexander Velovich
Dear reader,
Special correspondents
Alexey Mikheyev, Andrey Bludov, This edition of Take-off magazine, a special issue of Russian aerospace
Victor Drushlyakov, Andrey Zinchuk, monthly VZLET, is timed to the LIMA '17 Langkawi International Maritime
Ruslan Denisov, Alexey Prushinsky, and Aerospace exhibition. The airshow held on the Malaysian island of
Sergey Krivchikov, Anton Pavlov, Langkawi has more than quarter century experience taking place for 14th
Alexander Manyakin, Yuri Ponomarev, time now. Over 25 years since LIMA’s inception, the airshow has grown
Yuri Kabernik, Marina Lystseva, much in terms of scale and participation, having turned into a major
Sergey Popsuyevich, Piotr Butowski, regional aerospace and naval business forum in Southeast Asia.
Alexander Mladenov, Miroslav Gyurosi Russia has been a major participant in LIMA owing to the increasing
scale of cooperation between the two nations. In the mid-1990s, the
Design and pre-press Royal Malaysian Air Force commissioned into service 18 MiG-29N
Mikhail Fomin fighters. Some later Malaysian fire-fighting service BOMBA received
Russian-made Mil Mi-17-1V and Mi-171 helicopters. Today, the
most advanced multirole combat aircraft in service with RMAF are
Yevgeny Ozhogin
the Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighters delivered by the Irkut
Cover picture Corporation during 2007–2009.
Alexey Mikheyev This year marks the tenth anniversary of Su-30MKM fielding with
RMAF and their first participation in LIMA airshow. The derivative
of Su-30MKI/MKM fighters, Sukhoi Su-30SM, is now in service with
Russian Air Force too. The famous RusAF’s aerobatic team, Russian
Publisher Knights, is flying Su-30SM fighters since late last year, and LIMA ’17 is
to become their world debut on new jets.
MiG Corp. now has a huge experience in upgrading earlier delivered
Director General MiG-29 fighters under the Generation 4+ and 4++ standards. So, MiG
Andrey Fomin offers such upgrade solutions for Malaysia as well as new deliveries of the
latest version of MiG-29 family, the MiG-35.
Deputy Director General Russian Helicopters holding company plans to hold talks at LIMA ’17
Nadezhda Kashirina with Malaysian state company AIROD and the country's fire-fighting
department BOMBA, both of which are thinking about the acquisition of
Marketing Director a new batch of multirole helicopters. The company is going to present
George Smirnov here its new offers – a heavily upgraded Mi-171A2 medium-class
helicopter as well as recently certificated Ansat light helicopter and
Business Development Director some other models.
Mikhail Fomin In this issue we have focused on the most important novelties and
recent events in Russian aerospace industry, with preference given to
those of them that could be of special interest to the current and potential
News items are prepared by editorial staff based on reports of our customers of Russian aircraft in Malaysia and Southeast Asia in whole.
special correspondents as well as press releases of production companies

Items in the magazine placed on this colour background or supplied Sincerely,

with a note “Commercial” are published on a commercial basis.
Editorial staff does not bear responsibility for the contents
of such items. Andrey Fomin,
Take-Off magazine
© Aeromedia, 2017

P.O. Box 7, Moscow, 125475, Russia

Tel. +7 (495) 644-17-33, 798-81-19
Fax +7 (495) 644-17-33

March 2017
Russian Emercom receives first Beriev-built Be-200ChS amphibian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Second phase of PD-14’s flight testing began . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

10 Tikhomirov-NIIP sums up the year’s results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

MC-21 gearing up for maiden flight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

assembly in full swing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


18 Russian Knights converting to Su-30SM fighters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

10 years in service with RMAF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Advanced MiG advent
MiG-35 unveiled at Lukhovitsy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

milestones of the year 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30


MiGs in Malaysia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Su-30MKI to remain in IAF’s inventory until mid-century at the least. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


2 take-off march 2017


industry | news

Russian EMERCOM receives first Beriev-built Be-200ChS amphibian

facilities will manage up to eight
Be-200ChS aircraft a year further
down the line.
UAC President Yuri Slyusar said at
the first Beriev-produced Be-200ChS
rollout ceremony that the corpo-
ration was ready to supply up to
26 amphibians of the type to Russian
and foreign customers until 2025.
“We are witnessing the revival of an
Beriev Company

indispensable and relevant aircraft,

which has been proven by its suc-
cessful operational record and its
participation in disaster relief opera-
Russian aircraft manufacturer six Be-200ChS aircraft in May 2011. After the show, Be-200ChS tions both in Russia and abroad – in
Beriev in the city of Taganrog (a To launch the series production of (MSN 303) passed the acceptance Greece, Portugal and France,” Yuri
subsidiary of the United Aircraft the Be-200ChS in Taganrog, Beriev tests, including taking off from and Slyusar said at the time.
Corporation) delivered its first company had bought advanced splashing down in the Black Sea “Thailand and Indonesia have dis-
production-standard Be-200ChS manufacturing equipment, upgrad- and water scoops and dumps and played interest in the Be-200ChS
amphibian (MSN 303) to the cus- ed its production lines and shops, had been ready for delivery by the amphibian,” the UAC president said
tomer, the Russian Emergencies updated its composite parts pro- end of 2016. Since January 2017, it at Gidroaviasalon 2016. “The Thai
Ministry, in a ceremony on duction facilities, hired and trained has been based in Rostov-on-Don, Royal Air Force plans to order four
12 January 2017. The aircraft was personnel. assigned to the Russian Emergencies aircraft. Talks have been held, and
given side number RF-32766 and The design of the Taganrog-built Ministry Southern Regional Centre. the Thai delegation has visited the
named after famous Soviet naval Be-200ChS has been modified based Early this year, Beriev assembled plant in Taganrog and familiarized
aviator, Hero of the Soviet Union on the lessons learnt from the opera- and painted its second Be-200ChS with the plane’s production. The
Alexander Razgonin. tion of the existing amphibians by (MSN 304) designed for the same Indonesian Air Force plans to order
As is known, the Be-200ChS the Russian Emergencies Ministry customer. It is to be delivered soon. the amphibian too. The Be-200ChS
amphibians were previously assem- and in accordance with the require- The construction of three more aircraft has demonstrated its capabilities
bled by the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, an ments of the customer. For instance, (MSN 305, 306, 307) is under way, with on the fire-fighting operation in
affiliate of the Irkut corporation. A over 50% of the amphibian’s avion- them slated for delivery during this year. Indonesia. It is a very good aircraft,
total of nine flying examples of the ics suite has been updated and con- Hopefully, Beriev has resolved its featuring a number of considerable
Be-200ChS were made by the plant siderable modifications have been basic manufacturing problems and advantages over its close rivals.”
during 1998 through 2011 – two introduced to its airframe, the latter the production will pick up pace In addition, during Airshow China
prototypes and seven production- being reinforced and made compli- soon. According to Russian Industry in Zhuhai in November 2016, Beriev
standard amphibians as well as ant with the full-scale production and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, and Chinese company Leader Energy
two airframes for static and endur- standards. as many as four Be-200ChS amphib- Aircraft Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
ance tests. Of seven production- Beriev launched the Be-200ChS ians are slated for manufacture in signed a memorandum of coop-
standard Be-200ChS aircraft, six production in Taganrog in mid-2011. Taganrog in 2017, with the output eration stipulating the delivery of two
were received by the air branch of Due to a whole number of objective rate to pick up to six per annum Be-200 amphibians to China with
the Emergencies Ministry (the last and subjective reasons, however, in the future. Beriev’s production two more options.
two were outfitted and handed over the production and, hence, delivery
to the customer on Beriev’s prem- of the first aircraft started slipping
ises in November 2011) and one behind the schedule. For this rea-
was supplied to the air arm of the son, the first Taganrog-assembled
Azerbaijan’s Emergencies Ministry Be-200ChS (MSN 303) appeared
in 2008. only last spring. The official cer-
In 2008, a decision was taken to emony of its roll-out took place on
shift the Be-200ChS production from 30 May 2016.
Irkutsk to Taganrog due to the Irkutsk The crew made up of Beriev’s test
Aviation Plant having its hands full pilots Nikolai Kuleshov and Yevgeny
with export orders for Su-30MKI Yurasov took the amphibian for the
fighters of different versions, the first flight from the company’s air-
assembly of Yak-130 combat train- field on 16 September 2016, and as
ers and the upcoming productionis- soon as two days later, the brand-
ing of the MC-21 short/medium-haul new Be-200ChS was ferried from
Beriev Company

airliner. Taganrog to Gelendzhik, where it

The Emergencies Ministry and took part in the Gidroaviasalon 2016
Beriev made a public contract for international air show.

4 take-off march 2017


V.Tikhomirov Scientific-Research Institute of Instrument Design, JSC

3, Gagarina str., Zhukovsky, Moscow region, 140180, Russia

Tel.: +7 (495) 556-23-48 Fax: +7 (495) 721-37-85

industry | news

Second phase of PD-14’s flight testing began

“The 12th PD-14’s components are
being prepared. The launch of its
assembly is slated for early 2017.
In all, Perm Engines is going to
assemble four new engines in 2017,
of which two are designed for the
certification flights of the MC-21
aircraft. In addition to the assembly
work, the plant will make over ten
PD-14 overhauls as part of the cer-
tification tests.”
The Russian type certificate for
the PD-14 is expected in April 2018
and the European one in 2019. The
PD-14-powered MC-21 is supposed
to fly for the first time in June 2018.
“The plan is as follows,”
Alexander Inozemtsev said
Alexey Mikheyev

at International Aero-Engine
Manufacturing Forum 2016. “First,
there will be the certification tests
of the MC-21 powered by the
On 16 November 2016, the air- “We have completed the in a stable manner despite the lat- engine from our Western rival,
field of the Gromov Flight Research first stage of the flight trials,” eral air blow-off. The acoustic tests Pratt & Whitney, and then the
Institute (LII) witnessed the first Aviadvigatel Designer General were held and the reverser was aircraft will be modified to accom-
sortie of the Il-76LL flying test- Alexander Inozemtsev said dur- tested there too. PD-14 No.100-10 modate the PD-14 and will obtain
bed (side number 76529) under ing International Aero-Engine is in trials on TsIAM’s high-altitude a supplementary type certificate.
the second phase of the flight test Manufacturing Forum 2016 in test bench. This is the most rational approach
programme of the advanced PD-14 Moscow in April last year. “There Last year, the production facility enabling us to conduct flights per-
engine that the United Engine were certain limits to the engine’s of UEC – Perm Engines assembled tinent to the replacement of the
Corporation is developing to power operating modes during the tests. three new PD-14 engines (100-09, engine only, rather than to conduct
the MC-21 short/medium-haul air- Nonetheless, we have flight-tested 100-10, 100-11) and overhauled all of the flight tests anew. We have
liner. The prime contractor for its it at all altitudes, including the top two that had been built earlier. similar experience. We know how
development is UEC – Aviadvigatel one, performed inflight restarts and UEC – Perm Engines said in a news to do it, and the decision to use the
JSC, with UEC – Perm Engines JSC tested the reverser. We are going release dated 7 December 2016: approach has been made.”
being the prime contractor for its to mount it back onto the flying
production. testbed late in the summer for the
As is known, the first phase of second phase of its flight trials.”
the PD-14’s flight trials took place According to UEC, second phase
at Gromov LII between late October of the flight tests will see the limits
2015 and early March 2016. The on PD-14 operating modes can-
Il-76LL flew 16 test sorties, with celled and will include high-altitude
the engine operating a total of restarts. The engine will be tested
22.4 hours. During the flights, the across the whole range of speeds,
throttle performance of PD-14 altitudes and operating modes.
No.100-07 was gauged in all flight Concurrently with the flight tests
modes from minimal flight idle to under way in the Moscow Region,
the high-pressure rotor’s rotation of an extensive bench testing of PD-14
about 13,100 rpm at an altitude up prototypes is in progress in Perm,
to 11,300 m and a speed of Mach Turayevo, Rybinsk and Ufa. For
0.75. The tests also included inflight instance, PD-14 No.100-06, which
starts at an altitude of 5,000; 7,000; underwent the first phase of the
8,000 and 9,000 m and high-speed trials in TsIAM’s thermal pressure
runs designed for looking into the chamber in Turayevo simulating the
reverser’s performance. On 3 March altitude and speed of actual flight, is
2016, the engine was dismounted in long trials simulating the normal
and sent to the city of Perm for a flight cycle. PD-14 No.100-08 has
scheduled overhaul and check of passed the tests on NPO Saturn’s

its units. outdoor test rig, having performed

6 take-off march 2017

industry | news

Tikhomirov-NIIP sums up the year’s results

edented number of test flights to range interceptor and unmanned
hone the latest Tikhomirov-NIIP aerial vehicles. According to
radars – over 370 sorties, includ- Tikhomirov-NIIP’s Director
ing more than 100 flown by T-50 General, a preliminary design of
fifth-generation fighters carrying the PAK DA was given the green
an AESA multifunction radar sys- light in December 2016 and a
tem and upwards of 170 conducted decision was taken to commence
by Su-35S fighters equipped with its development. The company is
the Irbis phased-array radar. developing an AESA radar sys-
“As far as the fifth-generation tem for the bomber, building on
fighter is concerned, we completed the experience drawn from the
the preliminary trials and kicked fifth-generation fighter develop-
off the first phase of the official ment programme. As to long-range
tests, having logged in excess of interceptors, Yuri Bely assumes
two dozen sorties under the official that the institute’s upgrade of the
test programme. Our objective is MiG-31BM interceptor’s Zaslon-
to complete Phase I of the official AM fire control system has drawn
trials and obtain the preliminary to a close (full-rate upgrading
confirmation of the system’s full- the aircraft and returning them to
rate production readiness before their units is in full swing) and it
the end of the year. In addition, we makes sense to implement in the
are supposed to finalise the inter- course of developing a drastically
departmental tests of our system advanced long-range interceptor,
approximately by the middle of the PAK DP.
the year, with the tests involving Participating in UAV develop-
the system’s components – radar ment is turning into a new line
proper, electronic countermea- of work for the institute. “The
sures system, IFF system, etc. – on Kronstadt group and we have
test rigs of our institute and those signed a contract for developing a
of our subcontractors,” Bely said. radar to equip their unmanned air-
As for the Irbis radar designed craft,” Yuri Bely said. Tikhomirov-
for the Su-35S fighter jet, its flight NIIP also is taking part in develop-
trials last year proved that virtu- ing the UAV Sukhoi is working on.
ally all glitches revealed by the “We have offered a dimension- and
official tests had been ironed out, weight-scalable family of radars
and the fighter is due for the offi- based on the Irbis phased-array
V. Tikhomirov Scientific- 50th anniversary of the service cial service entry by the end of radar system and we see no prob-
Research Institute of Instrument entry of the Kub SAM system, the this year. The superb performance lem in building a radar with a
Design (Tikhomirov-NIIP, a sub- Army Air Defence missile system of the Irbis and the start of its phase array of any dimensions.
sidiary of the Almaz – Antey Corp.), that was the company’s first step export did not pass unnoticed, and We are prepared for any size,”
Russia’s leader in the developing along this vital path. The cutting- Tikhomirov-NIIP was awarded the Tikhomirov-NIIP’s Director General
of phased-array radars, continues edge Buk-M3 embodying the latest first Golden Idea prize by Russia’s assured.
to ramp up the output. Director advances in science and technol- Federal Service for Military The institute’s products work
General Yuri Bely has told Take- ogy is a worthy successor to the Technical Cooperation in 2016 for even under water these days.
off that the company’s proceeds Army Air Defence SAM systems, developing the radar. “Our Neman side-looking sonar
grew by about 10% in 2016 with which groundwork was laid by The company is now waiting has been fielded with the Russian
6–7% profits. The average salary the company’s founder and first for the official service entry of the Navy in January this year. It is a
grew too. chief – outstanding Soviet scientist Su-30SM fighters furnished with milestone to us, because we have
According to Yuri Bely, the key Victor Tikhomirov. the Bars-R phased-array radar. “Its pursued the programme for a long
event of last year was the start “The Almaz – Antey corporation tests have been completed and its time, paying for it out of pocket,
of fielding the advanced Buk-M3 has decided to order the devel- production and fielding are in full with the device designed for vari-
surface-to-air missile (SAM) sys- opment of a new SAM system swing, but at the same time, we ous civil applications. Now, the
tem. “We completed its tests. The from us. Essentially, it will be a are working on refining its combat Navy has been very keen on the
system entered production. The fifth-generation SAM system,” Bely capabilities,” Yuri Bely said. programme, and we have been
first brigade-sized set of Buk-M3s stressed. According to Bely, Tikhomirov- receiving more and more requests,”
has been fielded,” the Director Tikhomirov-NIIP also contin- NIIP’s promising lines of aircraft- Yuri Bely said. Tikhomirov-NIIP’s
General said. ued to work on aircraft radars in related work include participation sonars have already been installed
Interestingly, the institute in earnest last year. According to in developing the PAK DA future in the Russian Navy’s minesweep-
January this year has marked the Yuri Bely, it performed an unprec- long-range bomber, PAK DP long- ing boats.

8 take-off march 2017

Irkut Corp. industry | report

This year’s key event for Russia’s commercial aircraft industry is to be the Prototypes and tests
start of the flight testing of the MC-21 prospective short/medium-haul airliner In all, the MC-21-300 certification test pro-
being developed by Irkut Corp. The rollout of the first flying prototype of the gramme is to use four flying prototypes as well
MC-21 took place in a ceremony in Irkutsk on 8 June 2016, after which the as the static and endurance test examples. Two
aircraft kicked off ground tests and debugging of its equipment. flying prototypes of the MC-21-200 version
The aircraft’s frequency tests commenced in December last year. They are a may join the certification trials later on.
must prior to the first flight. At the same time, the Central Aerohydrodynamic The first MC-21-300 flying prototype
Institute (TsAGI) in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, continues the static structural (No. 0001) was assembled by the Irkutsk
and other laboratory tests under the MC-21 programme. In August last year, Aviation Plant last spring, and it was rolled
the fuselage of the second MC-21-300 prototype was brought to TsAGI out in a ceremony on 8 June 2016. Then, the
from Irkutsk, followed by the wing and empennage from Ulyanovsk. By mid- aircraft commenced its ground tests and the
December, the airframe of MC-21-300 No.0002 had been joined completely and trials of its onboard equipment. The fuselage’s
been prepared for the launch of the structural tests. By the time, TsAGI had airtightness had been tested, all equipment
conducted a huge number of tests of the MC-21’s units, including full-scale and onboard measurement systems had been
examples of its composite wing and empennage. The results produced by installed and the energised aircraft systems
the modelling and full-scale tests being conducted by Irkut, TsAGI and other and equipment were being tested by year-
companies are to be unveiled for the Methodological Council of the Gromov end 2016. In December, Irkutsk Aviation Plant
Flight Research Institute (LII) in March 2017, with the council to decide on the and TsAGI personnel launched the frequency
feasibility of the maiden flight of the MC-21-300 No.0001. The flight is expected tests of fully outfitted MC-21-300 No. 0001 in
to take place in Irkutsk this spring. the final assembly shop.

10 take-off march 2017

industry | report
MC-21-300 No. 0001
at the assembly hall The main purpose of the frequency tests is to
of Irkutsk Aviation Plant, prevent the feasibility of dangerous aeroelastic
December 2016 resonant vibrations of the aircraft structure
in flight. During the tests, special computer-
controlled equipment generates the vibration
of the airframe’s basic components, such as
the wing, fuselage, engine nacelles, stabiliser
and vertical fin, allowing gauging their own
structural oscillation frequencies, measuring
the flutter speed accurately and testing the
aircraft control system’s influence on the air-
frame component vibrations that will emerge
in flight.
Aircraft No. 0003 is to become the sec-
ond flying prototype of the MC-21-300. The
assembly of its fuselage was in progress at the
Irkutsk Aviation Plant last December. The
prototype is slated for flight tests in 2017 and
will be followed by the third flying prototype
(No. 0004), which manufacture is in full
swing in Irkutsk.
The second MC-21-300 prototype
(No. 0002) was made for the static struc-
tural tests. Last summer, Irkutsk Aviation Plant
completed its fuselage, which was flown by an
An-124-100 Ruslan heavylift freighter over to
Zhukovsky and given to TsAGI on 12 August
2016. At TsAGI, the assembly of the proto-
type’s airframe was completed in December
last year: the wing panels and tail unit were
mated to the fuselage and preparations for the
integrated structural tests were conducted, with
special instruments and loading devices having
being installed.
The static structural tests boil down to cre-
ating structural loading equivalent to the one
in effect in all flight modes and recording
the airframe’s deformation mode. At the first
stage, the airframe will be tested all the way to
Andrey FOMIN the operating loading – the maximum load-
ing on the aircraft possible in flight. Then, the
structural strength will be looked into under the
loads exceeding the operating caps. The air-
Irkut Corp.

craft’s strength and flight safety will be proven

if its airframe withstands this kind of loading.
TsAGI has a wealth of experience in such tests.
The airframes of the Tu-204, Tu-334, Il-114
and SSJ100 planes, Mi-26 helicopter, Buran
space shuttle, etc. were tested this way in
TsAGI’s static test shop.
Mention should be made that several hun-
dred structurally similar examples simulating
the basic load-bearing of the airframe had been
tested by TsAGI before the kick-off of full-scale
static tests of the MC-21-300 No. 0002, in the
early stages of the MC-21 development pro-
gramme. The results produced allowed success-
ful trials of several full-scale assemblies and four
prototypes of the wing torsion box. For instance,
the institute conducted the static strength tests
of the composite boxes of the vertical and hori-
The first flying prototype
zontal stabilisers, fuselage nose section, landing
frequency tests
gear struts, and wing and empennage high-lift take-off march 2017 11

industry | report

MC-21-300 No. 0002

going ready for static
tests at TsAGI Central
Irkut Corp.

Aerohydrodynamic Institute,
December 2016

lic systems and machinery with hardware-in-

the-loop, with the landing gear’s extension,
retraction and nosegear control having been
tested. The trials of the integrated control and
hydraulic systems are in progress.
The electrical system has been fully tested on
the power supply system test bench in support
of the MC-21’s maiden flight. Simulated fail-
ure and contingency tests are nearing their end.
The integrated control system computer and
scaled-down modelling bench has been used
for developing the algorithms, computer and
manual controls of the aircraft and engines
for flight simulation under the Flight chapter
of the AP-25 Russia’s airworthiness standards
and for their assessment by test pilots. An
Alexey Mikheyev

actual flight control computer is being tested

independently and air crews are training for
the first flight.
The integration of the plane’s avionics is
devices – the flaps, ailerons, airbrakes, spoilers, the nose section and the vertical fin have been being tested on the Electronic Bird integrated
elevators and rudder. The tests of the full-scale tested for bird strike successfully. Bird strike avionics test bench at GosNIIAS. The proto-
wing torsion box are under way. tests of the horizontal stabilizer are being pre- typing bench, which is part of the Electronic
TsAGI is testing the fuselage section and pared. The flight deck canopy transparency, Bird, is being used for developing and sup-
structurally similar panels as part of the radioparent nose section radome and nosegear porting the general MC-21 flight deck display,
endurance trials that allow forecasting the well doors have passed direct lightning strike indication and warning philosophy.
behavior of a structure under repeated load- and static electricity certification bench tests. The results of the preliminary ground tests
ing typical of the standard operation of the Environment structural tests of the high-lift on the prototypes and numerous test rigs by
aircraft. Riga-based company Aviatest takes devices of the wing and empennage are being Irkut, TsAGI, GosNIIAS and other organisa-
part in the work too. By late last year, the prepared. tions are to be submitted to the Gromov LII
cylindrical fuselage section had successfully The full-scale testing of the onboard sys- Methodological Council in March 2017. The
withstood as many as 47,000 loading cycles tems and equipment of the MC-21 prototypes council will evaluate them and decide on the
(each cycle is equivalent to a real flight) and had been preceded by a large-scale research aircraft’s readiness for flight trials and the
the tail section had withstood 240,000 cycles. work on more than 100 specialised test bench- feasibility of the fight flight of MC-21-300
The endurance tests continue. A full-scale es (including four integration benches) by No. 0001.
endurance example, the MC-21-300(RI), Irkut Corp., GosNIIAS and several other The first ordinary and high-speed taxi runs,
will join the testing later, as it is built spe- organisations. maiden flight and early stage of the flight tests
cially for it. For instance, the first stage of the MC-21’s of the first and subsequent MC-21 prototypes
In addition, the airframe is being tested for landing gear tests has been completed on will take place at the airfield of the Irkutsk
resistance to external impact. For instance, GosNIIAS’s Iron Bird test bench of hydrau- Aviation Plant (a subsidiary of Irkut). The

12 take-off march 2017

industry | report

bulk of the certification tests will be handled at (a subsidiary of Rostec Corp.) for Aeroflot Irkut vice-President Kirill Budayev said at
the Yakovlev Design Bureau’s Flight Test and group and 35 powered by PD-14 engines for the Wings of the Future forum last autumn that
Development facility in Zhukovsky, where a governmental customers. An order for 50 the total potential demand for the aircraft of
flight data processing facility is being set up in aircraft has been placed by Ilyushin Finance the MC-21 family was estimated at 980 planes
a specially built new hangar. Co. leasing company and a 30-plane order until 2035. About 43% of the orders (around
According to Irkut’s RfP for MC-21 flight by VEB-Leasing. In addition to Aeroflot, 420 aircraft) may be placed by Russian and
test insurance, published on the governmental the MC-21’s launch customers may include other CIS air carriers, 28% (over 270) by Asia-
acquisition website in December 2016, the the Red Wings airline intent on receiving Pacific operators, 11% (more than 100) by Latin
four MC-21-300 prototypes are expected to the airliners ordered by Ilyushin Finance. American airlines, 8% (almost 80) by European
fly more than 1,700 test sorties in Irkutsk In addition, Irkut has landed a direct order air carriers, 6% (up to 60) by Middle East
and Zhukovsky within three years – from from IrAero for 10 MC-21s. Talks with users and 4% (up to 40) by African customers.
early 2017 to early 2020. Irkut Commercial many other carriers are in progress, with Earlier, in June 2015, Kirill Budayev had said
Aircraft Sales Vice-President Kirill Budayev preliminary agreements reached with some about 370 airlines from all over the world could
told journalists previously that the certification of them. Irkut received advance payments be potential customers for the MC-21, with the
programme was designed for obtaining the from all of the customers that had awarded programme having been presented for 240 of
Russian type certificate for the MC-21 baseline it firm orders. them and talks being in progress.
version approximately two years after the type’s

Irkut Corp.
maiden flight. Thus, if all goes to plan, the
MC-21-300’s certificate may be issued in 2019.
Irkut applied to the Russia’s Aviation
Register for the MC-21-300’s certification
in July 2016 (previously, the IAC Aviation
Register had handled the MC-21’s certifica-
tion issues since 2013). In October the same
year, the company applied for the validation
of the future Russian type certificate by EASA.
At the same time with the development
and tests of the airliner, several years prior to
its delivery, Irkut, in conjunction with major
simulator manufacturers, is developing training
aids for the crews of the type’s future operators.
To date, MC-21-300 first integrated full-flight
simulator and a cockpit procedures simulator
has been mounted at Aeroflot training center.

Orders and versions

Now, the MC-21 airliner family comprises
two basic versions. The baseline MC-21-300
powered by PW1431G-JM engines, which Inside the cabin
of the first flying MC-21
tests are scheduled for the first half of 2017,
is designed to haul up to 211 passengers at a
distance of 5,900 km. In the standard two- In the cockpit
class layout, the MC-21-300 can seat 163 pas- of the MC-21-300 No. 0001
sengers (16 seats in business class and 147 in
economy class) while in the standard single-
class layout with the 32-inch seat pitch it can
carry 181 passengers. The MC-21-200 version
with a fuselage shrinked by 5.5 m is intended
to haul up to 176 passengers at a distance of
6,000 km (135 passengers in two classes with
12 seats in business class, or 153 passengers
in the standard single-class layout with the
32-inch seat pitch). The MC-21-300 is to have
a maximum takeoff weight of 79,250 kg and
the MC-21-200 ‘shrink’ is to have a MTOW
of 72,390 kg. Other MC-21 versions, including
those with a higher seating capacity, may be
developed further down the road.
The MC-21-300 is expected to pass its
certification tests in 2019 when its deliver-
ies are due to begin. The MC-21’s order
Irkut Corp.

book is standing at 175 aircraft, of which 50

have been ordered by Aviacapital-Service take-off march 2017 13

Andrey Fomin industry | report

IL-112V Andrey FOMIN


Russian airframer VASO JSC in Voronezh is completing the assembly of the first Ilyushin launched the development of the
flying prototype of the Ilyushin Il-112V advanced light transport aircraft (both preliminary design, which critical review and
companies are subsidiaries of the United Aircraft Corporation). In November 2016, mock-up committee session took place in
VASO joined the fuselage of the first aircraft and is to complete the assembly of December 2004. Then, Ilyushin started the
the whole airframe this spring in order to roll out the aircraft for ground tests and detail designing. For a number of reasons,
debugging by June, following the installation of the avionics and airborne systems. this phase dragged its feet and, in 2010, the
As is known, the first Il-112V is slated for the flight tests before the end of June 2017, customer cut the financing of the programme.
so Ilyushin and VASO are working hard to meet the tight deadline. Ilyushin’s Designer General Nikolai Talikov
reminisces about the difficult period of the
The history of Ilyushin Il-112V was not an for the competition. In addition to Ilyushin, Il-112V’s development: “We started developing
easy one. It was designed as a successor to the Tupolev, MiG, Sukhoi and Myasischev sub- the Il-112V as far back as 2003, when we won
obsolete Antonov An-26 as part of the tenders mitted their proposals (Tu-136T with a lift- the Russian Defence Ministry-launched bid-
issued by the Russian Air Force as far back ing capacity of 5 t, MiG-110VT with 5.5 t, ding for developing the Light Military Transport
as 2002. The then Air Force Commander- S-80TD with 3.5 t and M-60LVTS respec- Aircraft intended to replace the obsolete An-26
in-Chief Col. Gen. Vladimir Mikhailov tively). The enlarged session of the bidding in the aircraft fleets of governmental customers.
approved the requirements specification for committee on 8 April 2003 pronounced the We passed the preliminary design and mock-up
initial designs of advanced light airlifters with Il-112V design the winner, which Air Force commission milestones and started the devel-
a lifting capacity of 5–6 tonnes on 2 July 2002 Commander-in-Chief Mikhailov reported to opment work in 2005. Frankly speaking, this
and as soon as March 2003, the customer’s the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Presi- phase dragged its feet somewhat: we had to
committee reviewed the designs submitted dent Vladimir Putin. find another developer of the flight/navigation

14 take-off march 2017

industry | report

Design features
The Il-112V’s aerodynamic configuration was than that of the Il-76 (14 deg.). This simplifies
chosen based on analysis of the best foreign the loading of self-propelled vehicles, especially
and Russian aircraft of the same purpose due in winter, and troops.
to the need to meet the ‘payload/range’ require- The entrance door is in the front part of the
ment as well as ensure high enough cruising cargo compartment. There are emergency exits
speed and low takeoff/landing speed, rough in the fuselage for the crew to abandon the air-
landing strip operation and high flight perfor- craft during an emergency landing or ditching.
mance and safety across the whole range of In an emergency in flight, the crew can bail out
operating modes. through the emergency exit hatch at the front of
The Il-112V is a high-wing monoplane with the the cargo cabin.
straight trapezoid wing and T-tail unit. There are fairings on the sides of the fuselage,
The single-piece wing is made of long wing where the main landing gear (two single-wheel
panels. It lacks the wing centre section and tandem struts on either side) is retracted. The
has effective takeoff/landing high-lift devices landing gear is equipped with 880x315 mm
comprising two single-slotted extension flaps. wheels with highly effective heavy-duty brakes.
The T-tail unit was chosen to remove the The main gear struts are retracted upwards. The
horizontal stabiliser out of the wing downwash nose gear has two 668x200 mm wheels turn-
when the high-lift devices are fully extended, ing 50 deg. and affording the airlifter a turning
thus reducing the empennage’s area and drag, radius of only 16 m.
providing the required lateral stability, offsetting The aircraft’s design, systems and assem-
the crosswind and reduces yaw in case of an blies allow its self-contained operation from
engine failure. austere airfields for a long time owing to its
The fuselage is an all-metal semi-monocoque APU designed to start the engines, supply AC
with the reinforced longitudinal and transverse and DC, stoke the air conditioners in the sealed
structural members at the boundaries of the compartments, test the systems and equipment,
large cut-outs and places where the wing and and owing to cargo handling by means of the
other assemblies are attached to the fuselage. organic cargo handling equipment and main-
The cargo hold is 2.45 m wide and 2.42 m high, taining the aircraft by its crew.
allowing the carriage of all types of cargo speci- The Il-112V’s crew comprises the pilot, co-
fied by the customer and standard commercial pilot/navigator and technician/loadmaster. The
containers and pallets, which base measures latter operates load-handling equipment in the
88x96 inches and 88x125 inches (2.235x2.438 m cargo compartment in flight and maintains the
The first Il-112V under assembly, and 2.235x3.175 m respectively). The cargo aircraft on the ground.
late January 2017
cabin’s length equals 8.4 m and increases to According to Ilyushin’s official website, the
13.33, given the entrance door area, where the Il-112V will have the following dimensions:
system in the course of the development. The loadmaster’s station is, and cargo ramp floor length – 24.15 m, wingspan – 27.6 m, wing
new one is St. Petersburg-based Kotlin-Novator (3.57 m). This was a requirement due to the area – 65.2 sq.m, height – 8.89 m. Its maxi-
(previously a subsidiary of Leninets) known for need for carriage of helicopter rotor blades and mum takeoff weight is 21 t, maximum lifting
its flight/navigation systems for various types of standard containers and pallets. capacity – 5 t, fuel load – 5.6 t (fuel tanks
transport aircraft, including our Il-76. By then, The cargo hatch in the fuselage tail section is capacity – 7,200 litres). Il-112V will fly with a
we had almost completed the documentation closed by the ramp and a flap. The telphers can cruising speed of 500 km/h at an altitude of up
on the airframe, while a lot remained to be done move beyond the threshold of the ramp to load to 7,600 m for a range of 2,400 km (with the
on the avionics. We completed the preliminary cargo right out of a truck’s bed. The height of 3.5 t payload) or 1,200 km (with the 5 t pay-
design of the Il-112V’s avionics suite in Decem- the cargo floor is 1 m above the ground and the load). Its ferry range is 4,100 km and runway
ber 2008. In the end, we had released almost extended ramp’s angle is 10 deg., which is less required – 1,200 m.
95% of the design documentation by 2010 – not
Andrey Fomin

just released, but handed it over to the manufac-

turer – VASO.
VASO started phasing the documentation
into the production, making the rigging and
preparing the shops for production… However,
in May 2010, we received a document signed
by Defence Minister Serdyukov, under which
the funding of the aircraft’s development was
suspended – without an explanation worth
mentioning to boot. We were fully meeting
the requirements specification. However, the
military decided to revise the financing of Ilyushin Il-112V
the programme and put the latter on a back scaled model
at Army 2016 forum
burner until then. We had worked until August take-off march 2017 15

VASO / UAC industry | report

received the wing, empennage and engine

nacelle design documentation in digital form
and that for the fuselage and part of the sys-
tems in the hardcopy format. Ilyushin prom-
ised to complete the digitizing of the design
documentation by the time the Il-112V entered
production with due account for the design
modifications caused by the adjusted require-
ments specifications.
The aircraft’s full-scale design was approved
in June 2015. For this purpose, a full-scale
cockpit mock-up was made and submitted
to the customer for the latter to assess the
ergonomics of the crew stations, controls and
At the same time, the pool of subcontractors
for the Il-112V’s production was established
finally. VASO remained prime contractor for
the airlifter’s production, its job being fuse-
lage sections, wing, empennage and engine
nacelle manufacture, component mating, final
assembly, painting and flight testing of all
aircraft starting from the first flying prototype.
Fuselage panels, hatches and doors are made
by Aviastar-SP in Ulyanovsk, while KAPO-
Composit in Kazan makes airbrakes, spoil-
ers, extension flap tracks, wing trailing edge
panels, ailerons, elevator and trim tabs with
Technodinamika’s subsidiary Aviaagregat in
Samara responsible for landing gear struts and
hydraulic cylinders.
The Il-112V’s powerplant includes two Kli-
mov TV7-117ST turboprop engines with a
takeoff power of 3,000 hp (emergency thrust –
3,600 hp) and with the AV-112 six-blade
propellers from Aerosila in Stupino (their
manufacturer also supplies the TA14-130-112
Il-112V fuselage auxiliary power unit). Klimov launched the
under assembly, trials of the TV7-117ST prototype engines
November 2016
equipped with the AV-112 propeller on its test
rig in September 2016. In addition to Klimov
2010, paying out of pocket for that, but then airlifter, weight and types of cargo remained the itself, several subsidiaries of the United Engine
we had to stop. But for this, the Il-112V would same. Thus, given the adjusted requirements Corporation (Chernyshev MME, Salut Gas
have been flying now. The work on it had been specification, we estimated the programme’s Turbine Research and Production Center, and
suspended for three years, with us having fully completeness at 70% when it was restarted.” the latter’s Omsk-based affiliate) will take part
switched over to building and refining the Tackling financial and organisational issues in the engine production. Recently, it has been
Il-76MD-90A.” took a year. In the end, the contract for the decided that Salut’s affiliate Baranov Omsk
The programme had sat on the back burner development work, including VASO’s building Engine-Building Enterprise will handle the
for several years. The customer got back to the the first two Il-112V prototypes (one for the final assembly of the TV7-117ST from 2018.
Il-112V only in later 2013. Nikolai Talikov flight tests, the other for endurance ones), was The Il-112V’s avionics integrator and sup-
continues: “In October 2013, Deputy Defence signed only in November 2014, but it provided plier is St. Petersburg-based Kotlin-Novator
Minister Yuri Borisov held a meeting, during for the flight tests to commence no later than company responsible for the PrNPK-112
which the decision to carrying on developing June 2017. Thus, the schedule for making the flight/navigation system, controlling computer
the Il-112V was taken in principle, but the first prototype aircraft batch was very tight. system, integrated electronic display system
requirements specification was adjusted some- To meet the deadline, the designers decided and multifunction weather radar. VNIIRA-
what, given the time wasted. The modifications to give some of the design documentation to Navigator in St. Petersburg supplies radio navi-
applied only to the advanced communication the manufacturing plant in the traditional – gation systems, including the TAWS terrain
and self-defence suites and, in part, the flight/ hardcopy – format, because they lacked time avoidance warning system, VIM-95 airborne
navigation equipment. The systems were to to digitise it. Of all the design documenta- navigation and landing equipment for working
be commonised as much as possible with the tion, about half was issued and handed over with VOR and ILS/SP-50 beacons, VND-94
similar ones equipping other transport planes, to VASO as electronic models, with the other compact DME to measure the slant range
our Il-76MD-90A in the first place, while the half as draughts on paper and with mathemati- between the plane and ground-based beacons,
requirements to the basic characteristics of the cal models attached. For instance, the plant RSBN-85 short-range radio navigation system

16 take-off march 2017

industry | report

to gauge the aircraft’s position relative to the systems and avionics is planned for completion powerplant, even though the latter’s endurance
ground-based radio beacons, SO-96 airborne by this summer, when Il-112V S/N 0101 is sup- will not be high yet. UEC Director General
small-size radar responder to deal with air posed to be submitted to the manufacturer’s Alexander Artyukhov said in September last
traffic management radars, secondary surveil- flight test facility for ground tests and the year: “Next year, in February 2017, two engines
lance and approach control radars, etc. Sub- preparation for its maiden flight. This is to be for the first aircraft are to be shipped to the
contractors participating in the developing of preceded by the frequency and preliminary customer, with the contract on 16 prototype
the Il-112V’s avionics suite are several sub- structural trials (prior for the maiden flight, it engines to be carried out in 2019.”
sidiaries of the Radio-Electronic Technologies is enough to test the aircraft with a loading of Visiting VASO in July 2016, Deputy Defence
(KRET) – the Ramenskoye Design Company, 67% of the design load; to save time, the test Minister Yuri Borisov said that the ministry
Avionics Research Institute (NIIAO), etc. In will be conducted on the first flying prototype). planned to order from UAC up to 48 produc-
addition, Radio Electronic Technologies is As for the complete structural and durability tion-standard Il-112Vs, with two additional
responsible for the self-defence suite. NPP trials, they will be held on the second Il-112V aircraft (S/N 0103 and 0104) for the flight tests.
Polyot in Nizhny Novgorod was selected as the prototype (S/N 0102) in TsAGI from August Thus, in all, the Il-112V’s test programme will
supplier of the airborne communications suite. 2017. VASO is manufacturing its fuselage sec- use four aircraft, including three flying ones.
VASO started the manufacture of the first tions now. The development is slated for completion in
Il-112V parts and units requiring long time to Ilyushin is hopeful that the work on the 2020. By then, the early production aircraft are
be made in late summer 2015, with Aviastar- TV7-117ST turboprop stepped up by Klimov to be made in Voronezh. According to VASO
SP in Ulyanovsk announcing the launch of the in 2014–15 following the award of the develop- Director General Dmitry Prishvin, VASO
fuselage panels manufacturing in January 2016. ment contract will enable the Il-112V to take intends to drive the Il-112V output rate up to
The first fuselage panels for Il-112V S/N 0101 off for its maiden flight powered by its organic 8 (or even 12) aircraft a year.
were supplied from Ulyanovsk to Voronezh
in May 2016, and a set of hatches and doors The first Il-112V
followed suit in October. Aviastar-SP reported wing assembly,
the shipment of the complete set of fuselage December 2016
panels (47) for the second prototype aircraft
(S/N 0102) in late September 2016 and a set of
hatches and doors late in the year.
Using the panels supplied by Aviastar-SP,
VASO had assembled the fuselage tail section
(F-3) in August 2016 and was assembling the
nose section (F-1) and midsection (F-2). In
mid-November, the lower part of the F-2 sec-
tion was joined to F-3 and then F-1 was joined
to F-2. Finally, the upper part of F-2 with the
wing fasteners was installed on 18 November,
crowning the joining the fuselage of the first
flying Il-112V. In late January 2017 the fuselage
and wing for Il-112V S/N 0101 were moved to
the final assembly hall and have been joined
there. The Il-112V’s wing is one-piece and has

Andrey Fomin
no wing centre section.
The joining of the airframe of the first aircraft
is slated for February 2017. Fitting it with the


Fuselage and wing joining,

late January 2017 take-off march 2017 17

military aviation | event


There are many aerobatic display teams in the world, but the Russian Air Force’s MAKS air shows in Zhukovsky, International
Russian Knights are probably have no rivals in a class by themselves. The team is Maritime Defence Shows in St. Petersburg,
unique because it is the only one to perform aerobatics on heavy fighter jets. Last year, Gidroaviasalon in Gelendzhik and Army inter-
the Russian Knights marked their 25th anniversary and turned a new leaf in their history: national forum in Kubinka. The latest foreign
after having flown the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-27UB aircraft, they started the conversion to tours in recent years have included the air
the Su-30SM advanced supermanoeuvrable fighters. Members of the famous aerobatic shows in Zhuhai (China), Bangalore (India),
team ferried the first four aircraft of the type from Irkut Corp.’s Irkutsk Aviation Plant to Langkawi Island (Malaysia), Bahrain and Kish
their home station, Kubinka AFB, in the Moscow Region on 14 October 2016. The other Island (Iran), just to name a few. In addition,
four Su-30SMs were ferried from Irkutsk a month and a half later, on 30 November. Very the Russian Knights have regularly performed
soon, we will see the unforgettable formation flying of the Russian Knights on advanced throughout Russia at various anniversaries and
aircraft, which unique capabilities will allow the introduction of new manoeuvres. celebrations and at traditional Enlistment –
Your Choice campaigns.
The Russian Knights aerobatic team was There are five flying team members in the Pilots have come and gone, the team has
founded on 5 April 1991 on the basis of team now: ADC Deputy CO, pilot-sniper performed at a growing number of venues,
the 1st Squadron, 234th Composite Air Guards colonel Andrei Alexeyev (leader); but the team’s aircraft have been the same –
Regiment of the Moscow Military District. ADC Flight Safety Service chief, sniper- the Russian Knights have flown their Su-27s
Its mainstay was the best military pilots of pilot Guards lieutenant colonel Oleg Yero- for 25 years. The fact turned into a most seri-
Kubinka AFB, who mastered aerobatics to feyev; the team’s CO, Military Pilot 1st Class ous problem facing the team, because time
perfection on the Su-27 fighters assigned to Guards lieutenant colonel Sergei Shche- flies too, and the planes’ service life runs out.
Kubinka in 1989. Since 1992, the Russian glov; Military Pilot 1st Class Guards lieuten- By the time the first Su-30SM fighters were
Knights aerobatic team has been organic to ant colonel Alexander Bogdan and senior received, the newest Su-27 in the Knights’
the Russian Air Force’s Kozhedub Aircraft pilot, Military Pilot 1st Class Guards cap- fleet had been about 20 years old (several
Demonstration Centre (ADC), while ADC tain Vladimir Kochetov, with several rookies aircraft built in 1996 were received from
itself is part and parcel of the Air Force’s gearing up for formation flying. other RusAF units in 2008) and the remain-
Chkalov Training and Field Test Centre in The Russian Knights are old hands at the Vic- der (including those received during 2013 to
the city of Lipetsk now. tory Day parades over Moscow’s Red Square, 2015) ranged between 24 and 28 years old.

18 take-off march 2017

military aviation | event

Alexey Mikheyev
Russian Knights pilots who ferried
brand-new Su-30SMs from Irkutsk to Kubinka:
Colonel Andrey Alexeyev (4th right),
Lt. Colonels Oleg Yerofeyev (4th left),
Sergei Shcheglov (1st right)
and Alexander Bogdan (2nd left),
14 October 2016
Alexey Mikheyev

Alexey Mikheyev
The issue of giving the Russian Knights fly formation flying on four Su-30SMs, and The Su-30SM carries a phased-array
new aircraft has been raised repeatedly. For time will come soon for us to see the Rus- radar that Tikhomirov-NIIP derived from
instance, a decision was taken as far back sian Knights performing it too. The team’s the Bars radar equipping the Su-30MKI
as 2001 that the team would be re-equiped leading pilots – colonel Alexeyev and lieu- and Su-30MKM. Its modified weapons
with Su-27M fighters (Su-35, the first ones tenant colonels Yerofeyev, Shcheglov and suite includes a broad range of short- and
to have the designation). The same year, Bogdan – completed a conversion course. medium-range air-to-air missiles, air-to-
several of the Russian Knights completed It is them who ferried the eight Su-30SMs surface missiles and smart bombs with vari-
ground school to convert to the type and serialled 30 to 37 from the factory airfield ous guidance systems as well as unguided
then flew several familiarisation sorties on in Irkutsk to Kubinka AFB on 8–14 Octo- rockets and gravity bombs, with the overall
a Su-27M at the State Flight Test Centre ber and 29–30 November 2016. All of the combat load weighing 8,000 kg.
in Akhtubinsk. Five Su-27Ms (two low- aircraft are brand-new. They had been built The Su-30SM’s large fuel load and inflight
rate initial production planes and three and tested by the manufacturer from May to refuelling system enable it to accomplish
1996 production-standard ones) arrived at November 2016. difficult missions far away from friendly air-
Kubinka AFB in March 2004 after having The team’s receiving Su-30SM fighters fields, which is especially relevant to Russia
been painted in the Russian Knights colour differing from the Su-27 in having higher with its vast expanses. The capability is fur-
scheme and given side number 1 to 5 a year manoeuvrability, the mid-air refuelling sys- ther facilitated by the fighter’s two-man crew,
before. However, the team did not start tem and cutting-edge avionics will make whose two-seat cockpit allows the Su-30SM
flying them for a number of reasons. The its performance even more spectacular and to be used as combat trainer in addition to its
five Su-27Ms have been parked at Kubinka enable it to conduct long-distance flights to primary role.
since then and will hardly take to the sky air shows in various corners of the world. In 2012–2016, the Russian Defence Min-
again. The Su-30SM twin-seat supermanoeu- istry awarded Irkut Corp. several orders for
Finally, two years ago, the RusAF Com- vrable multirole fighter powered by a pair a total of 116 Su-30SM fighter jets, of which
mander-in-Chief made an official state- of AL-31FP engines with thrust vector con- about 80 have been fielded – over 60 to the
ment that the Russian Knights would soon trol is a derivative of the export-oriented RusAF’s combat units and about 15 to the Rus-
switch over to the advanced Su-30SM fight- Su-30MKI built by Irkut Corp. since 2000. sian Navy’s air arm. In addition, six Su-30SMs
ers, which fielding to line units had com- The Sukhoi design bureau and its subcon- are in service with the Kazakh Air Force that
menced not long before that. By summer tractors adapted the aircraft’s radar, radios, received four in the spring of 2015 and two
2016, pilots with the Falcons of Russia from IFF system and some other equipment to more in late 2016. Irkut’s total Su-30 order
Air Force Centre in Lipetsk had learnt to the RusAF’s standards. book has exceeded 460 aircraft. take-off march 2017 19

military aviation | report

Su-30MKM Mikhail SUNTSOV

10 YEARS IN SERVICE WITH RMAF IAF in November 2004. Since then, the num-
ber of Indian-produced Su-30MKIs in IAF’s
inventory has been on the rise. As for today,
This summer will mark the tenth anniversary of fielding Sukhoi Su-30MKM two- more than 220 Su-30MKIs – both delivered
seat supermanoeuvrable multirole fighters with the Royal Malaysian Air Force. from Russia and assembled by HAL – are in
The aircraft have been successfully operated by RMAF, being its most advanced service with IAF.
and sophisticated aircraft type. The Irkut corporation delivered them to Malaysia One more derivative of the fighter, the
between 2007 and 2009. Now all of 18 superagile Su-30MKMs are in service with the
Su-30MKI(A), was developed by Sukhoi
11th squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Force stationed at Gong Kedak air base
and delivered by Irkut Corp. The customer is
in the Kelantan province, on the coast of the South China Sea, 300 km north of the
national capital, Kuala Lumpur. The international debut of the advanced Malaysian Algerian Air Force wich ordered 28 fighters of
fighters took place ten years ago at LIMA 2007 airshow at the island of Langkawi. the type in 2006, 16 more in 2010 and 14 more
This time, Su-30MKMs are also the participants of the Langkawi International in 2015. Deliveries began in late 2007 and by now
Maritime and Aerospace exhibition and, no doubt, will become the stars of the a total of half-hundred Su-30MKI(A) fighters
demonstration flight programme at LIMA '17. have been built by Irkut and delivered to the
Worth about $900 million, the contract four more by the year-end, with the next six in The Su-30MKM is another step in develop-
for 18 Russian-made Su-30MKM aircraft to March 2008. The remaining six Su-30MKMs ing the Su-30 platform further. The Malaysian
be delivered to RMAF was signed on the top were delivered in summer 2009. version is wrapped around the Su-30MKI
governmental level in August 2003, with the The Su-30MKM fighter is a derivative of design, differing mostly in avionics but retaining
Rosoboronexport state corporation to fulfil it. the proven Su-30MKI that has been in service its airframe, AL-31FP thrust vector-controlled
The aircraft were to be developed by the Sukhoi with the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2002. (TVC) engines and fly-by-wire control system.
company and built by the Irkut Corp. Under Under the contracts fulfilled or still under way, Still, there have been a number of radical modi-
the deal, in addition to delivering the fighters, IAF is to take delivery of as many as 272 fications to the Malaysian aircraft.
Russia was to train RMAF flying and ground Su-30MKI fighters by the end of this dec- They included, first and foremost, modifica-
crews and provide weapons and other equipment ade, of which 50 were built by Russia’s Irkut tions to the IFF transponder, self-defence suite,
relevant to the effective operation of the fighters. Corporation and 222 are to be licence-produced display system and podded optronic systems. For
A decision was taken to have Malaysia’s person- by Indian aircraft manufacturer HAL under a instance, the Su-30MKM mounts an advanced
nel trained in their country. RMAF had taken licence programme. The first Indian-assembled French-made IFF system, with its ‘plates’ situ-
delivery of the first two aircraft in June 2007 and Su-30MKI has been flown and handed over to ated on top the nose section fore of the cockpit.

20 take-off march
december 2009
2017 wwwwww.
. ttaakkee--ooffff.. r u
military aviation | report

However, the main difference featured by the multifunction LCDs are French-made as well.
Malaysian variant is its laser warning systems and Like the Indian fighter, its Malaysian counterpart
missile approach sensors. They were developed houses three 5x5” MFD55 displays at each com-
and in production by South African company bat station in the cockpit, with the rear station
Avitronics, a member of the SAAB group, and also fitted with the fourth, larger display – the
are placed in various parts of the airframe. Two 6x6” MFD66.
front-hemisphere laser-illumination sensor sets Another novelty implemented in the Malaysian
are under the nose section and the other two, version is the Thales podded optronic systems
which keep an eye on the rear hemisphere, sit on (the Su-30MKI can carry the Israeli-made
the sides of the air intakes. Between the former, Litening electro-optical pod). There are two
there is a UV three-sensor set to spot incoming such systems: the LDP Damocles pod ensures
missiles in the lookdown mode. The second such round-the-clock air-to-surface attack while day
set of UV sensors is on top the spine fairing aft and night flight and navigation is ensured by the
of the air brake. It operates in the lookup mode. NAVFLIR system housed by the pylon being the
In addition to the South African systems, hardpoint for the Damocles.
the Su-30MKM’s self-defence suite comprises According to the official data at the Thales
an upgraded Russian radar-warning receiver, web site, the Damocles podded optronic sys-
Russian electronic countermeasures (ECM) tem (the pod weighs 265 kg and is 2.5 m long)
system in two pods mounted on wingtips, and handles the surface search, target acquisi-
Russian passive IR dispensers in the tail section tion, identification and tracking, laser spot
(98 cartridges with flares and chaff). detection and target ranging and designation
Actually, the share of Russian-made compo- for laser-guided weapons, including smart
nents is larger than that on the Indian variant bombs. To this end, it has the thermal imaging
due to Russian components replacing some of capability with the 3–5 micron wavelength
the Indian and Israeli ones. Particularly, the as well as two laser channels: a 1.5 micron
Su-30MKI has two different digital comput- eye-safe ranging laser and a target illumina-
ers (the main one is Russian and the backup is tion laser. The thermal imager’s extra-wide
Indian), while both of the Su-30MKM’s com- field of vision in the navigation mode meas-
puters are Russian-made. ures 24x18°, wide one – 4x3° and narrow
In addition, the Su-30MKM has more one – 1x0.75°. The twofold electronic magni-
Andrey Fomin

French-made systems. The Thales wide-angle fication (zoom) is possible.

HUD has ousted the Israeli ElOp HUD mount- The 3–5 micron infrared NAVFLIR naviga-
ed by the Su-30MKI. The Su-30MKM’s colour tion system has the front-hemisphere look-

Andrey Fomin take-off march 2017 21

military aviation | report

Andrey Fomin
down/lookup capability with the 24x18° optical craft also is fitted with formation flight lights
field of view (the electronic zoom with 12x9° on the sides of the fuselage nose section and
angle of view) and shows the resultant imagery air intakes, fins and wingtips. The avionics was
on the HUD and/or MFDs. The acquisition integrated with the use of multiplex databus
and identification range for objects measuring meeting the MIL-STD-1553B standard.
20x20 m is 10–12 km and those for 100x100 m As far as its weapons suite is concerned,
objects is 22.5–50 km. The system, except the the Su-30MKM is close enough to IAF’s
pod and cooling system, weighs mere 20 kg. Su-30MKI. The types of weapons used remain
The rest of the Su-30MKM’s search and virtually unchanged and include up to ten
targeting systems are Russian-made and most- RVV-AE medium-range active radar homing
ly similar to those on the Su-30MKI. They air-to-air missiles, up to eight R-27ER1 semi-
include, first and foremost, the Tikhomirov- active radar homing and R-27ET1 heat-seek-
NIIP Bars phased-array radar capable of simul- ing AAMs (including up to two R-27ET1
taneously tracking at least 15 aerial threats at a AAMs), up to six R-73E dogfight missiles,
high spatial angle and engaging four of them at Kh-59ME air-to-surface missiles (two mis-
a time, effectively attacking ground targets and siles with TV command guidance), Kh-31A
operating in the air-to-air and air-to-surface or Kh-31P (six ASMs with active or pas-
modes concurrently. The passive phased array sive radar homing heads), six TV-guided
of the Bars radar is fitted with the addition- Kh-29TE missiles and five Kh-29L semi-
al hydraulic horizontal turn mechanism and active laser beam-riding ASMs. Guided bombs
offers ±70° total scan in azimuth and ±40° include KAB-500Kr (OD) and KAB-1500Kr
in elevation. The assured acquisition range TV-guided bombs and advanced KAB-1500LG
for aerial threats with a radar cross-section of laser-guided bombs. The use of Kh-59ME
3 sq.m equals at least 140 km. missiles is supported by means of the APK-9E ted with the integral oxygen generator from
In addition, the Su-30MKM’s surveillance pod carried on the hardpoint under the port the Zvezda company in the town of Tomilino,
and targeting gear includes the OLS-30I air intake and that of Kh-29L missiles and Moscow Region. Zvezda is known as the devel-
IRST from the Ural Optical & Mechanical KAB-1500LG bombs by the Damocles pod oper of the unique K-36D-3,5E ejection seat the
Plant named after E.S. Yalamov and the Sura mounted on the hardpoint under the starboard Su-30MKM is fitted with.
helmet-mounted target designator from the air intake. The Su-30MKM has a long flying life –
Arsenal plant in Kiev. The infrared segment The non-guided weapons carried by the 6,000 flight hours or 25 years of operation
of the IRST tracks aerial targets out at 90 km Su-30MKM are virtually the same as those as far as the airframe is concerned. Heavy
in the rear hemisphere and 50 km in the front hauled by other aircraft of the Flanker family. maintenance is required after the aircraft logs
hemisphere. The airspace scan zone measures The Su-30MKM carries up to eight HE grav- 1,500 flight hours or 10 years of operation. The
±60° in azimuth and -15/+60° in elevation. ity bombs or 500 kg disposable cluster bomb AL-31FP engines from UMPO in Ufa have an
The OLS-30I’s wide field of view account for units, up to thirty-two 250 kg or 100 kg assigned life of 2,000 flight hours and a time
60x10° and the narrow one is 20x5°, with the blast/fragmentation bombs and 80, 122 and before first overhaul of 1,000 flight hours, with
field of view being 3x3° in the lock-on mode. 266/340 mm (420 mm) folding-fin aerial their TVC nozzles have an assigned life of 500
The laser rangefinder ranges ground targets rockets (80 S-8, 20 S-13 or four S-25 FFARs flight hours.
out at 5 km at the least and aerial ones out at in various versions) in four rocket pods or In 2006 the Sukhoi design bureau furnished
3 km at the least. launchers. The maximum payload mounted two prototype aircraft to test the Su-30MKM’s
The Su-30MKI’s navigation aids include on 12 hardpoints totals 8,000 kg. To cap it all, advanced electronic systems and integrate it
the TACAN short-range radio navigation the fighter packs a 30 mm GSh-301 automatic with the avionics suite. Two preproduction
system, LINS-GPS inertial/satnav system cannon with the 150-round ammo load. Su-30MKIs serialled 05 and 04 were converted
and VOR/ILS/MRK landing equipment. To In conclusion, a few words about one other to this end, becoming the prototypes of the
ensure safe formation manoeuvring, the air- feature of the Su-30MKM. The aircraft is fit- Su-30MKM. One of them was first flown by

22 take-off march 2017

military aviation | report

Andrey Fomin
with Russian test pilots Yevgeny Frolov, Sergey
Bogdan and Sergey Kostin of the Sukhoi design
bureau acting as instructor pilots. Already on
31 August 2007, three Su-30MKMs flown by
Malaysian pilots participated in the air parade
dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s
The international debut of the advanced
Malaysian fighters took place at LIMA 2007
airshow at the island of Langkawi in
December 2007. Lt. Col. Norazlan Aris and
Maj. Azman Jantan from RMAF’s 11th squad-
ron became the heroes of the show due
to their fantastic Su-30MKM flight display
over Langkawi. They previously flew RMAF’s
MiG-29N or F/A-18D fighters or Hawk
trainers and were high-skill military pilots
with a flight backlog of 2,000–3,000 hours.
Later on more and more Malaysian pilots
Andrey Fomin

passed conversion for flying Su-30MKM and

attended the 11th squadron.
With introducing the Su-30MKM into ser-
vice, RMAF became the second air force in the
Sukhoi’s test pilots Sergey Kostin and Vyacheslav Ruslan airlifter flew both aircraft to RMAF’s world to operate supersonic multirole super-
Averyanov in Zhukovsky on 23 May 2006. The Gong Kedak air base in the Kelantan province, manoeuvrable fighters capable of thrust vector
other prototype completed its maiden flight in on the coast of the South China Sea, 300 km control and the world’s second air force fly-
Irkutsk on 9 June 2006 with Vyacheslav and north of the national capital, Kuala Lumpur. ing Russian fighters fitted with phased-array
Yevgeny Averyanovs at the controls. The bulk of Two more Su-30MKMs joined them in August. radars. With air crews given relevant training,
the tests conducted at LII’s airfield in Zhukovsky The Subang air base vic. Kuala Lumpur hosted they became able to use dogfight missiles in
and at the Defence Ministry’s State Flight Test the ceremony of the Su-30MKM’s RMAF ser- the supermanoeuvrability mode as well. As a
Centre (GLITs) in Akhtubinsk were complete vice entry on 10 August 2007. The importance result, the combat capabilities of the Malaysian
in late spring 2007, with the assembly of the first of the event was highlighted by the presence of Su-30MKMs could far exceed those of the fight-
production Su-30MKMs being in full swing at Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence ers operated by other air forces in the region.
the Irkutsk Aviation Plant. Both Su-30MKM Minister (now – Prime Minister of Malaysia) At present, RMAF is searching the ways
prototypes remained in Russia for use under Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak for further development of its fighter fleet.
various test programmes to keep on refining the and Malaysian Chief of Defence Forces General Rosoboronexport and Irkut are intent on offer-
Su-30MKM and other aircraft of the family. (Army) Tan Sri Dato Paduka Seri Abdul Aziz ing the Malaysians a number of Su-30MKM
The ceremony of acceptance of two first pro- Hj Zainal. Rosoboronexport Deputy Director improvements, if the customer wishes so. For
duction-standard Su-30MKMs took place at General Victor Komardin, who represented instance, they can be fitted with an upgraded
the airfield of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, a sub- Russia during the ceremony, handed the doc- fire control radar system and the latest weap-
sidiary of the Irkut Corp., on 24 May 2007. The umentation on the delivered aircraft over to ons, including the Russian-Indian BrahMos-A
Malaysian delegation attending the acceptance RMAF Commander. heavy multipurpose supersonic air-to-surface
ceremony was led by the then RMAF command- By then, the fighters delivered had been used missile. In such a case, RMAF will get the
er, Gen. Dato’ Sri Azizan bin Ariffin. Less than by the first group of RMAF pilots for conver- unique capabilities for accomplishing all of
a month later, on 18 June, an Antonov An-124 sion to the aircraft of a type new to them, their missions. take-off march 2017 23

military aviation | event

Andrey FOMIN
Photos by the author

MiG-35 UNVEILED AT LUKHOVITSY 2019 after the aircraft passes all of its tests with
the corporation’s production facilities to allow
the output of up to 24 aircraft per annum.
On 27 January 2017, Production Facility of the MiG Corporation in Lukhovitsy, The MiG-35 multirole tactical fighter is
Moscow Region, hosted a high-level unveiling of the cutting-edge MiG-35 multirole designed for round-the-clock elimination of
fighter being developed in accordance with the Russian Defence Ministry’s aerial and surface threats in any weather in
requirements specification for use by the Russian and foreign air forces. A the face of the enemy’s active and passive
day before, the MiG-35 was shown in a videoconference call to the Supreme electronic countermeasures (ECM). Its
Commander-in-Chief – Russian President Vladimir Putin, who approved the objectives include aerial threat interception,
programme and congratulated the corporation and its numerous subcontractors air superiority, interdiction, suppression of
on the start of the advanced fighter’s tests. Putin said he hoped that the aircraft enemy air defences, ground and naval threat
would find a niche in the inventories of the Russian and foreign air forces. elimination.
“It is a truly interesting, unique aircraft. I hope very much that it will beef up our The MiG-35 is being derived from the
military considerably – our Air Force, our Airspace Force… The plane has a good MiG-29K multirole carrierborne fighter to
exportability to boot… The MiG-29 is in service in over 30 countries that have good become a top of the MiG-29 fighter new-
associated infrastructure and skilled personnel. However, it goes without saying generation derivatives family, which entered
that everything should be ready for offering our potential partners the services for production in 2006. The family is expected
keeping the aircraft airworthy,” the Russian President said. to be made up of by at least four commonised
versions – the MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB
Objectives in line with governmental resolution “On the multirole shipborne fighters in the single-
As was reported during the presentation in State Order in 2015 and the Period of 2016 to seat and two-seat configurations respectively
Lukhovitsy in January, the MiG Corporation 2017”, dated 25 December 2014. The work is in and the single-seat MiG-35 and twin-seat
has been developing the MiG-35 multirole progress in accordance with the requirements MiG-35UB multirole tactical fighters carrying
fighter and its MiG-35UB combat trainer specification issued by the Russian Defence the new-generation avionics and weapons
version under a government-placed order and Ministry. The MiG-35’s delivery is slated for suites. In addition, to meet the requirements of

24 take-off march 2017

military aviation | event

some of the customers, there will be production - extended range by means of a larger Design features and powerplant
of the MiG-29M and MiG-29M2 multirole internal and external fuel capacity and the In terms of design, the MiG-35 is a derivative
tactical fighters commonised with the MiG-35 in-flight refuelling capability; of the MiG-29K/KUB carrierborne fighter. It
and MiG-35UB in terms of airframe and basic - high survivability due to reduced radar and also has an upgraded sharp-LERX aerodynamic
aircraft systems, but featuring somewhat more IR signature, up-to-date self-defence suite, configuration and a quadruple-redundant 3D
modest capabilities in terms of avionics and aircraft system redundancy, etc.; digital fly-by-wire control system ensuring good
weapons. - enhanced reliability owing to time-proven stability and controllability in the manual and
Each pair of the fighters features a 90-per technical and design solutions, integral automatic flight modes, including automated
cent or more degree of commonality, with the systems ’health’ monitoring and failure mid-air refuelling and supermanoeuvrability at
singleseater and twinseater having the same forecasting. poststall angles of attack.
design of their fuselage forward sections and To train flying and ground crews in operating At the same time, the MiG-35 is radically
cockpit canopy with the singleseater’s rear and maintaining the MiG-35, a multilevel different from the production MiG-29
combat station occupied by an extra fuel tank training system is to be established to make and MiG-29SMT fighters in terms of
or additional avionics units, if the customer use of an automated interactive training system manufacturability. It embodies large welded
wishes so. as well as procedural, flight/navigation and structures of the basic airframe load-bearing
Compared to the existing MiG-29, the basic integrated full flight simulators. elements and feature a radically increased use
new features of the MiG-35 are going to be the To ensure effective MiG-35 operation, of composites. On the one hand, this will allow
following: personnel training and logistics, an a hike in its assigned life and service life (up to
- enhanced combat effectiveness owing to information system is being introduced. Spare 6,000 flight hours and 40 years) and, on the
the cutting-edge multispectral fire control supply and service provision are to rest on the other, this will facilitate the reduction in its
system and weapons; direct-to-home principle at regional MRO radar signature.
- highest manoeuvrability through the use of centres. The MiG-35 is to be subject to An advanced larger wing has been developed
the reduced longitudinal stability aerodynamic on-condition maintenance, which is to allow to fit the MiG-35. Its span and design are similar
configuration, fly-by-wire control system and a considerable reduction in the operating to those of the wing of the MiG-29K/KUB, but
more powerful engines; costs of the customer. the wing does not fold. The advanced wing allows take-off march 2017 25

military aviation | event

New MiGs in different stages of assembly

at MiG Corp.’s Production Center in Lukhovitsy

two more hardpoints to be fixed on its lower New-generation avionics suite and weapons
surface. As a result, the MiG-35 will be able to The new-generation avionics suite of the
haul various air-launched weapons with a total MiG-35 fighter is an open-architecture design
weight of 6,500 kg on 9 hardpoints including 8 using a multiplex data bus. This provides the
under the wing. aircraft with multirole combat capability and
The MiG-35 is powered by upgraded Klimov simplifies integration of new Russian and
RD-33MK engines featuring a far extended life (under customer request) foreign avionics and
(assigned life – 4,000 hours, time before first weapons, including podded ones. The HOTAS
overhaul – 1,000 hours) and an afterburning capability is designed to control weapons.
thrust of 9,000 kgf each. The RD-33MK differs The MiG-35’s fire control system is wrapped
from the production RD-33 Series 3 in both an around the Zhuk radar from Phazotron-NIIR
extended service life and the BARK-42 digital Corp., a subsidiary of Concern Radio-Electronic
automatic monitoring and control system usage, Technologies (initially the Zhuk-ME slotted-
and are fitted with so-called smokeless combustors array radar to be replaced with the Zhuk-AME
as well. The RD-33MK was developed by the active electronically scanned array radar in the length of 2,365 mm and is 340 mm in diameter
Klimov company in St. Petersburg and has future), OLS-UE forward-looking infrared and provides the all-round coverage in azimuth
been in full-rate production by Chernyshev (FLIR) sensor and lookdown electro-optical and +10°…-170° in elevation/declination with
MME since 2006 to fit the MiG-29K/KUB surveillance and target designator pod under the simultaneous autotracking of four ground
carrierborne fighters on order from the Russian right engine nacelle from Precision Systems and targets. It comprises the TV and thermal-
Navy and Indian Navy. Klimov works to hone the Instruments Corp. as well as a helmet-mounted imaging channels featuring several fields of
engine still further, which could yield a version target designator/display system. view, a laser rangefinder/designator and a laser
boasting even better characteristics. As was said during the MiG-35’s unveiling warning receiver.
The fighter’s internal fuel capacity is in Lukhovitsy, its radar will “acquire and track The flight/navigation system from the
increased by about 1.5 times over that of the up to 10–30 aerial targets at a range of up to Ramenskoye Instrument Design Company
standard MiG-29 (up to 4,800 kg) through 160 km and engage six aerial or four surface (RPKB) comprises up-to-date inertial and
reconfiguring the existing fuel cells within targets simultaneously” and that the MiG-35’s satellite navigation aids. In terms of the cockpit
the airframe and introducing new ones. In optronic systems are “on a par with that of the management system layout, the MiG-35
addition, the aircraft will have an integral Western fifth-generation fighters”. and MiG-35UB are similar enough to the
in-flight refuelling system and larger drop tanks According to the official information MIG-29K and MiG-29KUB (the pilot is
(capacity of the underbelly tank rised from Precision Systems and Instruments Corp. provided with three large 6x8” multifunction
1,520 to 2,150 litres with MiG-35 is able to released at the MAKS 2015 air show, the FLIR liquid-crystal displays and a wide-angle head-
carry up to four underwing drop tanks). The scans airspace, acquires, locks onto and tracks up display; the rear seat of the twinseater is
single-seat version has an extra fuel cell of air and surface targets, identifies their types, furnished with four LCDs), but its displays
about 620 litres in place of the backseater’s measures their angular coordinates, range and resolution and operating speed is to be
combat station. Fitted with the PAZ-MK speed and could be used as a laser designator enhanced.
detachable refuelling unit, the MiG-35 fighter for ground targets. The developer also offered The self-defence suite includes the radar
will be able to top up other aircraft of the type enough detail on the lookdown electro-optical warning (ELINT) station, missile launch
in flight. pod for engaging ground targets. The pod has a warning and laser illumination warning

26 take-off march 2017

military aviation | event

OLS-UE forward-looking
IR/laser search-and-track
system and IR missile
launch warning sensors

Laser warning sensors from MiG-35’s

self-defence suite. All optical, IR and
laser sensors and systems for MiG-35
are provided by Precision Systems
and Instruments Corp.

Lookdown electro-optical system in a pod

under MiG-35’s starboard engine nacelle

receivers, active ECM stations (both integral antiship missiles as well as guided bombs with MiG-29M2 (side number 154) twinseater used
and podded ones) and a chaff/flare dispensers. different homing systems (TV, IR, laser, active heavily in 2002–2006 to hone the design and
There are six missile launch warning and passive radar, satnav, etc.). aerodynamics of the new forward fuselage
incoming sensors in front of the cockpit, on The number of hardpoints on the MiG-35 section, advanced cockpit management system
the sides of the fuselage nose section and on was increased to nine and its maximum payload and a number of avionics systems. In 2006,
its top and bottom surfaces aft of the cockpit to 6,500 kg. The MiG-35 retaines the 30 mm the advanced OLS-UE FLIR was fitted to and
to provide continuous spherical coverage. GSh-301 integral rapid-fire automatic cannon tested on the plane, followed by the OLS-K
These IR sensors detect missile launches, standard to all MiG-29 family fighters. pod-mounted optronic targeting system. Early
gauge their coordinates and display it in the 2007 saw the aircraft fitted with a Zhuk-AE
cockpit accordingly. Two pairs of laser warning Prototypes and tests AESA radar demonstrator. After a variety of
receiver sensors are installed in the wingtips. The designation MiG-35 was first mentioned bench and ground tests flight testing of the new
They provide spherical coverage, too, detecting as far back as the middle of last decade in radar onboard MiG-35 demonstrator began.
laser illumination and generating the image of connection with the Indian Air Force’s tender The first flight of the MiG-35 demonstrator
the situation and threats. The missile warning for 126 fighters under the MMRCA (Medium fitted with the full-scale Zhuk-AE AESA radar
and laser warning receivers were developed by Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) programme. India equipped with the full set of transmitter/receiver
Precision Systems and Instruments Corp. released RfP on 28 August 2007. Six companies modules, including turning it on in flight, took
On air-to-air missions, the MiG-35 relies from the United States, Western Europe place in late October 2008. MiG Corp. test pilot
on the medium-range active radar-guided and Russia were willing to bid – Lockheed Mikhail Belyayev, who piloted the demonstrator
missiles (RVV-AE, RVV-SD, etc.) and dogfight Martin (F-16IN), Boeing (F-18E/F), Dassault together with Nikolai Diorditsa, said, “The
IR-guided missiles (R-73E, RVV-MD, etc.). To (Rafale), SAAB (Gripen IN), Eurofighter radar produced good results from the outset. We
deal with ground targets, it can use traditional (EF2000 Typhoon) and MiG Corp. (MiG-35). are certain of its great capabilities. AESA radar
unguided weapons (rockets and bombs) and MiG Corp. had developed the MiG-35D operates in various modes in a stable manner,
a wide variety of high precision weapons, technology demonstrator by as far back as acquiring and tracking aerial and ground targets.
including air-to-ground, antiradiation and early 2007. It has been converted from the The flight and ground tests have proven that the take-off march 2017 27

military aviation | event

MiG-35UB in a demo flight at Lukhovitsy –

Tretyakovo airfield, 27 January 2017

concept and basic technical solutions had been Jaisalmer, the Rajasthan desert (hot temperature destroyed. The Indian pilots gave raving reports
right and that the operability and effectiveness of tests) and at Leh air base in a mountainous area to the operation of all of the fighter’s systems,
the radar’s subsystems were as good as required. of the Himalayas (Jammu and Kashmir), where particularly, the AESA radar tested in various
To take part in evaluation and comparative the contenders have to prove the feasibility of operating modes.
flight tests under the MMRCA tender, MiG Corp. fully-laden takeoff and landing in high-altitude Although the MiG-35 was regarded as a
built two MiG-35 prototypes – a single-seater mountainous environment (altitude above sea favourite in the MMRCA tender by rights,
(side number 961) and a two-seater (967) in 2009. level about 3,500 m). the decision on a winner had been putting off.
They were made using the airframes of an early Another stage of the trials took place in the Finally, in January 2012, India announced
production-standard MiG-29K carrierborne contender’s countries. In April 2010, MiG-35 Dassault to be the winner but no contract for
fighter and a prototype MiG-29KUB (947). sorties were flown in the test base in Zhukovsky the first 18 aircraft and subsequent licence
In October 2009, these two MiG-35 and the Russian Defence Ministry’s test centre production of the 108 remaining fighters in
prototypes passed a series of tests in India, in Akhtubinsk with participation of IAF pilots India was signed. Essentially, the MMRCA
including hot-and-high trials. The two MiG-35s and included Zhuk-AE AESA radar operation tender was cancelled. Instead, India in April
kicked off their tests in India with demonstration demonstrations and flights with all combat 2015 stated its willingness to buy 36 Rafales
flights by MiG Corp. pilots and familiarisation load options possible, including live fires in flyaway condition. The contract was
flights by IAF aircrews at HAL-owned air base of RVV-AE active radar homing air-to-air placed in September 2016. At the same time,
in Bangalore. Then, there were field tests in missiles and smart bombs. All targets were IAF believes it needs about 200 medium

28 take-off march 2017

military aviation | event

fighters. Thus, experts presume there is a new twin-seater flown by MiG Corp. test pilots said the MiG-35’s delivery to the Russian
bidding ahead. Mikhail Belyayev and Stanislav Gorbunov flew Defence Ministry might begin in 2019.
Irrespective of the protracted and then a demo sortie including some aerobatics. “I think everybody has noticed the unique
cancelled MMRCA tender, MiG Corp. has Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin outlines of the MiG-35. It was extremely
been working on the MiG-35. Early in the and Russian Aerospace Force Commander- important to us to develop particularly this
decade, it made two more prototypes – the in-Chief Victor Bondarev took part in the family of light fighters. They have always been
twin-seat MiG-29M2 (side number 747), MiG-35’s presentation attended by numerous less expensive than their rivals and have featured
which first flew on 24 December 2011, and representatives of potential customers from huge exportability. At the same time, they can
the single-seat MiG-29M (741), which made all over the world. General Bondarev said in accomplish any mission in battle. I think the
its maiden flight on 3 February 2012. Both Lukhovitsy that the RusAF will “be pleased” fighter is a success,” Dmitry Rogozin said
have been repeatedly demonstrated at air to buy the MiG-35, which he described as “an during the MiG-35’s presentation, addressing
shows under the current designation MiG-35 excellent aircraft”, adding that the type might the numerous foreign guests in the first place.
and used for tests under new planned export soon equip, say, the famous Swifts aerobatic “Russia is an air power and has proven this today
orders. Concurrently, MiG Corp.’s Production display team who flies MiG-29s now. “Recently, yet again. I welcome our friends, colleagues
Facility in Lukhovitsy was making the early we have started converting the Russian Knights and partners in military-technical cooperation
production planes. to the Su-30SM. I guess one of these days, we to familiarize themselves with the MiG-35 in
The corporation has repeatedly said that the will convert the Swifts to the MiG-35,” the detail. Don’t spare your money, buy this plane!”
2020 State Armament Programme stipulated the service chief said. UAC President Yuri Slyusar the Vice-Premier called on them.

Piotr Butowski
MiG-35’s delivery, but the customer postponed
ordering the fighter until “after 2016.” Finally,
the Russian Defence Ministry in 2014 ordered
two MiG-35 prototypes in accordance with its
latest specs. Based on the outcome of their tests,
a decision was to be taken by the end of the
decade on whether to buy the type.
Two fighters, MiG-35 single-seater (side
number 702) and MiG-35UB twin-seater
(712), have been built and entered flight tests
last autumn under this order. These are the
planes that were unveiled in Lukhovitsy on 27
January 2017. The single-seat aircraft carrying
a set of weapons and an optronic targeting pod
was in the focus of a colourful multimedia Test pilot Mikhail Belyayev
reports to Vice-Premier
performance, coupled with impressive audio,
Dmitry Rogozin after demo flight
light and holographic accompaniment. The take-off march 2017 29

Katsuhiko Tokunaga / SuperJet International commercial aviation | programme

SSJ100 Mikhail SUNTSOV


The commercial operation of the advanced Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 for the type are in Europe. To date, over 100
regional airliner commenced in Russia in June 2011. The aircraft’s launch aircraft have been made, and about 80 are in
customer, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, had to shoulder the service entry of the operations. Although the airliners have been
airliner radically novel to Russian aviation, including converting its flying and used in various climes, the type’s operation by
ground crews to the type, arranging its maintenance, overcoming its teething CityJet on the European market is peculiar,
troubles and ensuring a gradual increase in the type’s reliability and regular and it is important to us to get a positive
flights. Today, six years later, the difficult phase has become a thing of the past. response about the SSJ100’s performance
Now, Aeroflot operates as many as 30 Superjets that have carried over 4 million on this market specifically,” United Aircraft
passengers. Overall, Russian airlines operate more than half hundred SSJ100s Corporation UAC President Yuri Slyusar said
now: Yamal started flying them in April last year and IrAero in June, joining the last summer. He also reminded that 2016 was
club of such experienced SSJ100 operators as Yakutia and Gazprom Avia. Far the year when the designing of an SSJ100
abroad, 22 Superjets (of 30 ordered) have been used by Mexican carrier Interjet, ‘stretch’ with the 120-passenger seating
and the first West European customer for the type, Ireland’s CityJet, began to capacity has begun, which “will add to the
use the SSJ100 in June 2016. The number of production-standard aircraft built product’s appeal and enable us to expect new
has exceeded one hundred last year. Considering the manufacturer’s measures customers.”
to improve the aftersales support and the government’s assistance in promoting CityJet’s SSJ100 made its public debut
the airliner on the market in today’s hard economic situation, one is hopeful that at Farnborough International Airshow
the number of SSJ100 operators and the pace of the Superjet’s operations will 2016 in July, where the carrier displayed
keep on growing. its second Superjet. The aircraft with
Irish registration EI-FWB (MSN 95108)
European breakthrough to Irish airline CityJet in Venice in May 2016. flew from the SuperJet International joint
Superjet’s commercial operation in Western It is our first contract with a EU company. The venture’s customisation facility in Venice
Europe, which has started last year, was the very fact of the SSJ100’s operation in Europe to the customer’s operating base in Dublin
greatest milestone for the programme in 2016. is very important to us; one of the reasons on 1 July and started its revenue services in
“The first SSJ100 aircraft has been delivered is that many of the suppliers of components Western Europe on the next day.

30 take-off march 2017

commercial aviation | programme

As is known, the two first Superjets were

handed over to CityJet in a ceremony in
Venice on 24 May 2016. The first of them
In the skies of Latin America
(EI-FWA, MSN 95102) arrived in Dublin To date, the Sukhoi Superjet 100’s greatest of their operation in Mexico. According to the
on 2 June and has been flying commercial success on the global market was its career carrier, the SSJ100s are as good as its long-
operation since 8 June. It performed with Mexico’s second-largest air carrier, Interjet, used Airbus A320s in terms of flight readiness,
numerous charter flights during the UEFA that became prime customer for the type in the with the former’s readiness being higher than
European Championship among airports in Western hemisphere. 99% for a long time. The SSJ100s fly to several
Ireland, France and the UK, carrying the Interjet ordered 15 airliners in January 2011 but dozen Mexican cities mostly from Mexico City,
Irish national team and its fans to where then increased the order to 20 and early last year Toluca, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Leon and
the matches took place. In addition to to 30. Aircraft for Interjet are supplied by Russo- abroad – to the United States, Guatemala, Cuba,
charter flights, the SSJ100s began CityJet’s Italian joint venture SuperJet International, etc. Interjet launched its international operation
scheduled operations, in particular, from which facility in Venice installs the cabin interior on the Monterrey – San Antonio (Texas) route in
Cork in Ireland to La Rochelle and Nant in designed by Italy’s design company Pininfarina, September 2014, and then its Superjets started
France. paints the planes and trains the customer’s fly- flying to Houston, Miami and other US cities.
CityJet’s third SSJ100 was delivered on ing and ground crews. Interjet’s Superjets have a The high effectiveness of the Superjets operat-
27 October 2016. The Irish carrier is expected single-class 93-seat cabin, but the thinner seats ed by Interjet is owing to SuperJet International’s
to receive five more Superjets in 2017 and the offer an unusually wide 34-inch (864-mm) pitch. effective SuperCare aftersales support pro-
rest seven in coming years. In all, it is to There is an entertainment system in the cabin. gramme providing payment per flight hour. To
get 15 aircraft, and there are 16 options to The first two SSJ100s arrived in Mexico in supply spares as quickly as possible, SuperJet
boot. The CityJet-ordered airliners are in the summer 2013 and started their revenue opera- International has a storage facility in Fort
SSJ100-95B version (RRJ-95B), they have tions on 18 September 2013. Interjet has got Lauderdale, Florida, that supplies Interjet with
a single-class cabin for 98 seats with a pitch as many as 22 SSJ100-95Bs by this year, four spares in a prompt manner. It has a team of
of 32 inches. The cabin’s interior is from more are being customised in Venice. According maintainers on Interjet’s premises continuously,
Italian design company Pininfarina, just like to SuperJet International, the delivery of the and its customer consultation support center
the interior of the SSJ100s being used by 30 planes to Interjet is slated for completion in works in Venice without weekends.
Mexican Interjet. 2017. Interjet was the first Western customer for
CityJet pins its hopes on the launch of its Interjet produced very good results at the very the SSJ100 to have received the planes and
SSJ100s’ services to London City Airport beginning of the type’s operation in Mexico conducted their revenue operations. The results
situated right in the British capital: there are owing to SuperJet’s good aftersales support produced by its Superjets during three years of
many regular flights to this destination in and the airline’s wealth of experience in mini- revenue flights are quite good. No doubt, a key
the carrier’s schedule. However, the Superjet mising downtime in airports. Suffice it to say Sukhoi Superjet 100 programme event of the
has to obtain an extra certificate to come to that the Superjets averaged 210 flight hours last year – the beginning of revenue services
the airport that has a rather short runway monthly and each of the planes flew almost 200 in Europe – has begun owing to the SSJ100’s
(1,500 m) and requires a steep landing services a month as soon as the early months Mexican success.
approach due to the city blocks all around
it. In particular, the aircraft will have to be Interjet carrier from Mexico operates
equipped with winglets. In addition, there Superjets since September 2013.
will be extra tests to see how the airliner Now it has 22 aircraft of 30 ordered
approaches the runway on a steep flight path
and takes off from and lands on a runway
1,500 m long or less. The certification is
expected to be complete in 2018.

Sukhoi Business Jets

Last summer, the SSJ100 programme saw
another significant event – the ceremony
of acceptance of two Sukhoi Business Jets
(SBJ), derived from the SSJ100-95LR
(RRJ-95LR-100) for the Royal Thai Air
Force, which took place in Venice on 15 July
2016. The bizjets’ passenger cabins are
divided into three areas – a VIP cabin for
four persons, a six-seat business-class cabin
and a standard passenger cabin for 50 seats.
Their interior was designed and made in
Russia. The first of the two aircraft delivered
(MSN 95093, side number 60317) arrived in
Thailand on 28 July followed by MSN 95095
(side number 60318) early in August.
Marina Lystseva

As is known, the first SSJ100 in the

VIP variant started operations in late 2014
and has been flown mostly by the Russian take-off march 2017 31

Mikhail Polyakov commercial aviation | programme

Industry and Trade Ministry. The aircraft is an airborne command post with a 19-seat Russian government. Each of them has a
(MSN 95009, RA-89053) has a VIP cabin for cabin and the other is an airborne command VIP cabin with two comfortable seats and
19 persons. It has been flown by RusJet since post with the medical evacuation capability: a sofa, a 12-seat business-class cabin and
October 2015. some of its seats can be replaced with medical an economy-class cabin for 45 seats. The
The SSJ100-95LR (MSN 95060) ordered modules. Both aircraft have been used heavily aircraft started flying in August.
by Kazakh mining company Kazakhmys went since last summer. In September 2016, the Meanwhile, the first Sukhoi Business Jet
to the United States for customisation in VIP interior of the airborne command post with extra fuel cells in the underfloor luggage
August 2015 and was ferried to Kazakhstan (RA-89067) was open for familiarisation at the compartments was in trials at Sukhoi Civil
when ready on 25 December 2016. Kazakh JetExpo business aircraft show in Vnukovo-3 Aircraft Company’s facility in Zhukovsky
division of Swiss Comlux became its operator. Airport in Moscow. last year. The plane was derived from the
Two SSJ100-95LR (RRJ-95LR-100) Late in June 2016, the Rossiya special SSJ100-95LR (MSN 95096) on order by the
derivatives (MSN 95061 and 95069 registered air detachment has taken two 59-seat Kazakh government. Its maiden flight took
as RA-89066 and RA-89067) were delivered to Superjets (MSN 95030 and 95037, registered place on 25 February 2016. The extra fuel
the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Air Rescue as RA-89039 and RA-89040) designed for cells will extend the SBJ’s maximum range
Company in late December 2015. One of them passenger services in the interest of the from the current 4,600 km to 6,000 km.
Sergei Sergeyev

32 take-off march 2017

commercial aviation | programme

long with emergency exits onto the wing retaining its current SaM146-1S18 engines,
panels. The current production-standard an enlarged high-aspect ratio wing with
RRJ-95B (SSJ100-95B) and RRJ-95LR-100 winglets is in development for the stretch
(SSJ100-95LR) with the standard 32-inch version. According to the designers, the
single-class cabin accommodate 98 seats. The wing with increased lift will preserves the
current largest certificated layout has 103 characteristics of the 10%-heavier airliner
seats (18 rows with the 30-inch pitch; the first with a certain reduction in its thrust-to-
three rows pitched at 33 inches; the aircraft weight ratio.
configured this way are part of the fleet of The preliminary design of the RRJ-95SV
the Yamal airline). In accordance with the has been completed. If the comprehensive
international standards, the maximum seating assessment of the programme results in its
capacity should not exceed 110 passengers, continuation, the Superjet’s stretch version
unless the aircraft is equipped with extra will be able to obtain a certificate and be
emergency exits onto the wing panels. ready for delivery approximately in 2019.
The maximum takeoff weight of the Its designers emphasise that it will retain
RRJ-95SV is expected to stand at about 55 t a very high degree of commonality with
Last summer the Royal Thai Air Force (the current RRJ-95LR's weight is 49.45 t the in-service certificated SSJ100 variants.
took delivery of two SSJ100-95LR and the RRJ-95B's – 45.88 t), its fully-laden This allows regarding it as a version in need
aircraft with a VIP cabin for four distance at 3,200 km (now almost 4,600 km of only the RRJ-95B supplementary type
persons, a six-seat business-class
cabin and a standard passenger and 3,050 km respectively). To attain the certificate (major modification approval),
cabin for 50 seats assigned characteristics of the aircraft while rather than a separate type certificate.

Sergei Sergeyev
The aircraft was delivered to its customer
on 12 November 2016. A modified version
with the 7,600-km range is planned for
development by 2018.

Stretch version
Another promising line of the Sukhoi
SuperJet 100 (RRJ-95) programme’s
evolution is the RRJ-95SV stretch version
being developed by SCAC. Presumably,
its standard single-class layout will seat
120 passengers at a pitch of 32 inches or
up to 133 with the minimum (29-inch)
pitch. To install additional seats, the fuselage
midsection will receive a plug about 5 m

Sergei Sergeyev

Russian Emergency Ministry’s

airborne command post derived from
SSJ100-95LR (RRJ-95LR-100)
and interior of its 19-seat VIP-cabin take-off march 2017 33

contracts and deliveries | programme

Andrey FOMIN
Photos by the author

MiGs in Malaysia
Malaysia is the first Southeast Asian country to have adopted for use the Russian-
little from that of the RusAF’s production-
built MiG-29 fourth-generation fighter two decades ago. The order for 16 modified
standard MiG-29s, and then to have them
MiG-29N single-seat fighters and two MiG-29UB combat trainers, placed in 1994,
became a kind of the Russian combat aircraft’s breakthrough to the country: modified in several stages in Malaysia in
previously, Russian planes had been supplied only to the region’s countries friendly line with the customer’s requirements. The
to the Soviet Union – Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea (Cambodia today) and came in top priority was to fit the MiG-29Ns with
very handy to MiG Corp. (then MiG MAPO) during the hard 1990s, when the Russian the mid-air refuelling system. Then, their
Defence Ministry virtually ceased to buy new aircraft. The MiG-29N fighters were fire control radars were to be upgraded and
liked by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, or TUDM, weapons suites beefed up with advanced
English acronym – RMAF), have repeatedly participated in exercises, and their weapons, including the RVV-AE medium-
formation flying by RMAF pilots has become part and parcel of the LIMA air shows range active radar homing missile.
held on Langkawi Island since 1997. This approach allowed the first MiG-29Ns
However, late in last decade, Malaysia announced plans for replacing them with to be shipped to Malaysia as soon as April
new-generation multirole fighters against the backdrop of the then MiG-29N upgrade 1995, with the last of the 18 aircraft ordered
plans and complaints about the high operational cost of the 15-year-old aircraft.
arriving in country in early June that year.
Nevertheless, about 10 MiG-29Ns remain in RMAF service now, and at the previous
The two MiG-29UB two-seat combat train-
LIMA air show in March 2015, Malaysian-Russian joint venture ASTC unveiled a
MiG-29N upgrade programme to not only boost their combat capabilities but also ers were given side numbers M43-01 and
extend their economically justified service life. Although no decision has been M43-02 and the single-seat MiG-29Ns
made on it yet, Malaysia’s economic problems caused by the global oil price drop M43-03 through M43-18. The planes were
and a considerable sagging of the Malaysian ringgit will hardly allow the country assigned to two RMAF air squadrons sta-
to buy advanced fighters in the coming years. Hence, RMAF is likely to take its tioned at Kuantan AB on the east coast of
time decommissioning its MiG-29N fleet, and the latter’s chances for upgrade are Malaysia’s mainland, 200 km from Kuala
improving. All the more so that a similar programme called MiG-29UPG is being Lumpur. The table of organisation and
successfully implemented in India. equipment of 17 Squadron of RMAF, which
emblem is the bat, was approved in January
Malaysian contract Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun 1995. The squadron’s activation was com-
The contract for the 18 MiG-29 aircraft, Haji Abdul Razak, who led the Malaysian pleted in March and its initial operating
estimated at $560 million, was signed in Defence Ministry in 1991–1995 and 2000– capability (IOC) was achieved in October
Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on 7 June 2008 and has been Malaysia’s prime min- the same year. In August 1995, RMAF
1994. The letter ‘N’ in the designation of ister since April 2009. In order to speed up decided to form the second air squadron on
the MiG-29’s Malaysian version was to the arrival of new fighters in RMAF’s inven- the MiG-29 – 19 Sqn, which emblem is the
render homage for the part played in the tory, a decision was made to import fight- cobra. The squadron was stood to in January
deal by then Malaysian Defence Minister ers, which navigation equipment differed 1996 and achieved IOC in July 1996.

34 take-off march 2017

contracts and deliveries | programme

this difficult function, and the fighter’s equip-

ment designed to search for and connect
to airborne tankers proved to be much bet-
ter than the one equipping Russian military
aircraft at the time. The trials demonstrated
that the external refuelling boom had virtu-
ally no impact on the fighter’s stability and
controllability, while the fighter’s ferry range
on three drop tanks with one mid-air refu-
elling spiked by almost 80% to 5,200 km.
Refuellings were conducted at an altitude of
up to 8,000 m and a speed of 400–600 km/h,
with several ones performed at a speed of
350–500 km/h to simulate tanking up from
a KC-130 (RMAF operated six C-130 turbo-
prop transports fit for conversion into tank-
ers). The flight test programme was completed
in January 1996, and the in-flight refuelling
system was recommended for use on the base-
line MiG-29 fighter and its versions. In addi-
tion to the Malaysian MiG-29Ns, it equips
the MiG-29SMT supplied to the RusAF and
air forces of some other countries, the Indian
Air Force’s upgraded MiG-29UPG and their
two-seat combat trainer versions.
By spring 1998, Malaysian and Russian
engineers had jointly equipped the first
RMAF MiG-29N with the mid-air refuelling
Six MiG-29 flighters from the RMAF’s 17th Squadron system in Malaysia on the premises of ATSC
at LIMA ’13 airshow, Langkawi, March 2013
(Aerospace Technology Systems Corp.) set up
as a joint venture on 25 June 1994. Malaysia’s
Refuelling maintains the fighter’s distance vis-a-vis the NADI (National Aerospace and Defence
Given the missions of RMAF’s MiG-29s, tanker plane, dampening the atmospheric Industries) holds 70% of the venture’s stock,
the principal problem facing them was to disturbance. the country’s finance ministry has the golden
extend their range. As is known, no produc- A production-standard MiG-29 (S/N 4808, share, MiG Corp. is in possession of 25% and
tion MiG-29 had had the in-flight refuel- side number 357) was modified for testing the Rosoboronexport is entitled to 5%. The first
ling system before the mid-‘90s (only two new refuelling system in 1995. Test pilot flight of the modified aircraft was conducted
MiG-29K (Aircraft 9-31) carrierborne pro- Roman Taskayev performed the first refuel- by MiG Corp.’s Roman Taskayev on 8 April
totypes had it, for which reason their design ling from the Il-78 on 16 November 1995. 1998. Later on, the remaining Malaysian
provided for the bays to accommodate the According to test pilots, the system allowed MiG-29s, including both combat trainers,
refuelling boom and pipelines). It seemed to even pilots with average flying skills to execute were fitted with the system.
be impossible to install the refuelling boom
into the MiG-29 without heavy structur-
al modifications. Therefore, MiG Corp.’s
designers opted for a compromise by install-
ing part of the system (boom, its attachments,
part of the pipeline) into a fairing near the
cockpit, at the joint of the fuselage and left
leading-edge root extension.
The retractable refuelling boom weighed
75 kg, with the rest of the system weighing
within 30 kg. The tip of the boom was com-
monised for receving fuel from both Russian-
built Il-78 airborne tankers and foreign ones,
including the C-130, with a fuel transfer rate
of 900 l/min. The fighters’ navigation equip-
ment and the automatic control system were
Smokey Bandits became
modified to simplify refuelling. The integral the name of the RMAF’s
short-range radio navigation system supports MiG-29 aerobatic team
the rendezvouz with tanker aircraft. Once the due to a distinctive feature
refuelling boom is extended, the pilot switches of their engines to produce
a huge smoke at some
the automatic control system over to the
operational modes
refuelling stabilisation mode and the system take-off march 2017 35

contracts and deliveries | programme

In RMAF service
The introduction of the in-flight refuelling
capability to RMAF’s MiG-29Ns was to be
followed by improving their radars to N019ME
standard and by adding advanced weapons to
their weapons suites – the RVV-AE medi-
um-range active radar homing missile and
the extended-range versions of the previ-
ous-generation medium-range missiles – the
R-27ER1 with semiactive radar homer and
R-27ET1 with heat seeker. The improvements
were devised for the upgarded export variants
that MiG Corp. was offering foreign custom-
ers at the time – the MiG-29SD (a derivative
of Type 9-12) and MiG-29SE (a derivaitve of
Type 9-13 with an increased fuel capacity and
in-built electronic countermeasures gear).
RMAF did not order the modifications to M43-01 became one of the two MiG-29UB twin-
its MiG-29N fleet, however. Therefore, their seaters delivered to RMAF in 1995 as part of the
level of sophisitcation probably remains simi- order for 18 MiGs. By April 2013 it logged more than
2,000 flight hours
lar to that of the standard export MiG-29B
fighter carrying the ordinary N019E radar and
capable of firing only the R-27R1 and R-73E 14 single-seat MiG-29N fighters were in service with
air-to-air missiles. RMAF by the middle of the 2000s with their number in
Since RMAF started operating MiG-29Ns, airworthy condition reduced by 2010
two of them have been lost in air mishaps. The
MiG-29N with side number M43-17 crashed
in the vicinity of Kuantan AB on 4 September
1998. Its pilot, Maj. Mohamad Fauzi bin
Salleh, with 19 Sqn, punched out safely and
was picked up by an S-61 search-and-rescue
helicopter. According to the foreign press, the
cause of the crash was that the fighter’s battery
had gone flat when the aircraft RTB’d after a
hydraulic system failure.
Six years later, on 9 November 2004, Maj.
Fajim Mohamad Mustaffa had to eject from
his aircraft (side number M43-07) soon after
takeoff from Kuantan AB. Defence Minister
Najib Razak said at the time that the plane
crashed into a palm plantation 30 km north-
west of Kuantan air base. “According to pre-
liminary reports, the mishap had been pre-
ceded by the engine fire seen by the pilots of
two other MiG-29s,” Mr. Najib said.
Thus, RMAF had had 16 MiG-29s by the
mid-2000s – 14 MiG-29N single-seaters and
two MiG-29UB two-seaters. However, the
number of airworthy aircraft started declining
later due to the shoratge of spares, with 10 air-
worthy fighters remaining by 2015.
By the late 2000s, RMAF had announced
its plans for decommisisoning its remaining
MiG-29s and replacing them with advanced
multirole fighters under the MRCA pro-
gramme. In December 2009, RMAF and are not quite up to standards set for up- to buy new fighters meeting all our require-
Commander-in-Chief General Tan Sri to-date fighters. The job they do is no longer ments down the line instead of spending
Dato' Sri Rodzali bin Daud (in office from enough to us. We need a multirole fighter money on modernisation. Therefore, we will
September 2009 to September 2014) told capable of both air superiority and strike start decommissioning the MiG-29Ns from
the Take-off Magazine in an interview: “The missions, and the MiG-29N can handle only 2010, reducing the fleet gradually. The last
principal problem with the MiG-29N air- the former. For their service life with RMAF of the MiG-29Ns will have been taken out of
craft in service with the RMAF is that they to be extended, they need radical moderni- service by late December 2010. The decision
were delivered as far back as the mid-‘90s sation, which cost is high. So, we decided has been made.”

36 take-off march 2017

contracts and deliveries | programme

RMAF MiG-29 fighters became the regular

participants in the flight display programme
of all LIMA airshows at Langkawi since 1997 by 2013

MiG-29N (M43-16) landing after

a demo flight at LIMA ’09, December 2009

Malaysia’s income) and the subsequent deval-

uation of the national currency, the ringgit,
indicates that the MiG-29s’ departure from
RMAF service may well be postponed again.
General Tan Sri Roslan Saad, RMAF’s
commander-in-chief from September 2014
to December 2016, said the service was pon-
dering a number of solutions to the MiG-29
issue: “If fighters are in service for years, it
is logical to consider various scenarios. Now,
we are looking at both decommissioning the
MiG-29s and retaining them. A decision is
pending. Everything is hinged on the budget.”
At LIMA ’15, General Roslan Saad con-
firmed that the MiG-29s “despite certain
Spectacular take-off of MiG-29N (M43-13) difficulties with maintaining their airworthi-
at LIMA ’07 airshow, December 2007
ness” remained in service with RMAF, and
“talks were underway with MiG Crop. about
As one can see, General Rodzali bin Kuantan AB in March 2013 for the LIMA ’13 extending their service life.” The negotia-
Daud was overly optimistic at the time, air show. Nonetheless, General Rodzali bin tions touch upon the feasibility of upgrading
and though the number of the MiG-29s in Daud in May 2014 confirmed the plan for the MiG-29Ns under the MiG-29NM pro-
RMAF’s inventory has diminished, the type withdrawing the MiG-29s from the inven- gramme offered by MiG Corp. and ATSC.
has not been discarded from service either tory by late 2015. However, the Malaysian The programme was unveiled at LIMA ’15
in 2010 or ever since. For instance, as many government’s unwillingness to shell out ring- and is generally similar to the MiG-29UPG
as seven of the type – five MiG-29Ns and gits for new fighters, compounded by the upgrade programme in progress now for the
both MiG-29UBs – arrived at Langkawi from 2014 decline of the oil prices (a key source of Indian Air Force. take-off march 2017 37

contracts and deliveries | programme

MiG-29NM upgrade proposal model and equips IAF’s MiG-29UPG fighters. The
poster (bottom) at ATSC stand at LIMA’ 15 FGM-229 has a longer target acquisition
exhibition, March 2015 and tracking range, a higher resolution,
the multiple-target simultaneous engage-
ment capability (it tracks 10 aerial targets
in track-while-scan mode and supports
attacking four of them with AAMs) and
effective air-to-surface attack mode.
In addition to the radar, other avion-
ics – the infrared search-and-track (IRST)
station, navigation, communications, data
exchange, electronic countermeasures,
flight data recording and video recording
systems – is supposed to be updated radi-
cally. Most of the legacy electromechanical
instruments on the control panel in the
cockpit will be ousted by two large colour
multifunction displays.
The weapons suite will be expanded con-
siderably, turning the MiG-29NM into a
full-fledged multirole fighter. According
to ATSC’s promos, the fighter will be
commonised with RMAF’s Su-30MKM
in this case. The MiG-29NM will carry
the RVV-AE, R-27ER1/ET1 and R-73E
air-to-air missiles, Kh-29T/TE, Kh-31A,
Kh-31P and Kh-35E air-to-surface mis-
siles, KAB-500Kr smart bombs, etc.
The dorsal conformal fuel tank similar to
Speaking at the celebration of the 57th Speaking with the media in the Malaysian that of the MiG-29SMT and MiG-29UPG
aniversary of the Royal Malaysian Air Force at parliament in October 2016, Defence will extend the flight range from 1,500 km
Kuantan AB on 1 June 2015, General Roslan Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to 1,800 km on internal fuel, to 2,800 km
Saad said that the MiG-29N fighters remained said a decision on a MiG-29N replacement on three drop tanks and to 5,700 km on
“a valuable asset of RMAF, and no decision has under the MRCA programme might be made three drop tanks and a mid-air refuelling.
been made on their replacement.” He empha- by 2020 at the earliest, stressing that the gov- The MiG-29NM’s normal takeoff weight
sised that the armed service continued to look ernment had not set aside funds for advanced is estimated at 16,300 kg and its MTOW
into the MiG-29s’ service life extension. aircraft yet. at 20,600 kg. Its powerplant is to include
“Previously, we suggested replacing the 8,300-kgf RD-33 Series 3 extended-life
MiG-29Ns with advanced aircraft, but now, MiG-29NМ: Make and Upgrade in Malaysia engines.
in our opinion, they should remain in opera- According to ATSC’s adverts released at Concurrently with the upgrade, the
tion. We believe in the MiGs, and the upgrade LIMA ’15 in March 2015, the MiG-29NM airframe’s assigned life will be extend-
programme offered will put them on a par prorgamme provides for replacing the ed to 6,000 h or 40 years, i.e. virtually
with the best fighters of foreign air forces,” N019E radar with the advanced slot- 20 years more. Mention should be made
General Roslan Saad said at the time. array FGM-229 (Zhuk-M2E). The latter that, according to RMAF website, the

MiG-29N fighters at LIMA ’13 airshow, March 2013, with M43-03 featuring
special ‘jubilee’ livery of the 17th Squadron devoted to RMAF’s 55th
anniversary (the service was founded on 2 June 1958) at the foreground

38 take-off march 2017

contracts and deliveries | programme

MiG-29UB (M43-01), which leads the

pack in terms of the flight time accumu-
lated, logged 2,000 h in April 2013. Thus,
the upgarde will almost double the MiG-29
fleet’s service life. One of the 12 MiG-29 fighters delivered to Myanmar
All upgarde work on the MiG-29Ns is under the 2001 contract. Yangon, December 2013
supposed to be done at ATSC’s technical
facility at Kuantan air base in Malaysia.
ATSC Director General Fadzar Suhada
said at LIMA ’15: “After two years of hard
work, the company has concluded that
the MiG-29Ns were in good state, but the
Air Force needed their combat capabilities

Richard Vandervord
beefed up considerably – to multirole com-
bat aircraft (MRCA) standard.”
In this conneciton, ATSC in coopera-
tion with MiG Corp. offers RMAF a num-
ber of medium- and long-term solutions for
upgrading the MiG-29Ns and turning them Southeast Asian countries are considered to be two MiG-29UB combat trainers were airlifted to
into multirole aircraft with the air superiority a major market for Russian-built aircraft. As far as Myanmar in March 2013.
and surface attack capabilities. According to Soviet times, Russian fixed-wing and rotary-wing air- Thus, the Myanmar Air Force took delivery of
Mr. Fazdar Suhada, the offer has been sub- craft were exported to friendly nations in the region, a total of 32 MiG-29s. MiG Corp. has offered
mitted to the Malaysian government and, if e.g. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (Kampuchea in Myanmar to upgrade its MiG-29 fleet to MiG-29SM
accepted, “will save the country good money 1975–1989). Later, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar standard. The work is said to have begun.
compared with the acquisition of the MRCA and Thailand became Russia’s partners in military- Bangladesh operates MiG-29 fighters too. The
being mulled over now.” technical cooperation. country is not in Southeast Asia, but it borders
In his opinion, the offer’s important Malaysia is the first Southeast Asian country to on Myanmar, hence, it is worth mentioning
advantages are the technology transfer have adopted for service the MiG-29 fighter. This it in this context. Bangladesh awarded MiG
(the upgrade is supposed to be handled took place in the mid-‘90s. In June 2001, a contract Corp. the order for eight MiG-29s (six MiG-29B
by Malaysian personnel on Malaysian for 12 aircraft of the type – 10 single-seat MiG-29s single-seaters and two MiG-29UB twin-seaters)
soil) and the commonality with RMAF’s and two two-seat MiG-29UB combat trainers – was in June 1999 and received the fighters during
Su-30MKMs in terms of some of the sys- signed with another regional state, Myanmar (for- 1999–2000, assigning them to 8 Squadron
tems and weapons. merly Burma before 1989). The delivery had started stationed at Kurmitola AB near the capital city
“This is a less expensive compared with by year-end 2001 and finished in 2003. of Dhaka. Bangladesh was supposed to acquire
buying brand-new aircraft solution to the Myanmar ordered 20 more MiG-29s from eight MiG-29s more, but the buy was put off.
problem of providing the Royal Malaysian MiG Corp. in December 2009, including 10 “We have been working proactively to arrange
Air Force with effective multirole fight- MiG-29B single-seaters, six modified MiG-29SE a contract with Bangladesh for upgrading its
ers, for which technical support Malaysia’s fighters and four MiG-29UB twin-seaters. eight MiG-29s and awaiting the right decision
industry will be fully responsible,” the According to MiG Corp.’s official annual reports, on its part,” MiG Corp. Director General Sergei
ATSC Director General said, stressing that the first batch of 14 fighters was shipped to the Korotkov told the ITAR-TASS news agency in
the first two MiG-29NMs could be upgrad- customer in December 2011. The manufacturer April 2013. Somewhat earlier, the question of
ed within 18 months after the government supplied Myanmar with two MiG-29SE fighters new delieries had been raised but it was put
releases a relevant resolution and allocates more in June 2012, and the Sokol plant had on the back burner again due to the customer’s
the funds. delivered a MiG-29UB a month before. The last financial circumstances, probably.

Vladimir Sikorsky

A MiG-29 of Bangladesh Air Force after its

repair at Lviv aircraft repair plant, April 2010 take-off march 2017 39

contracts and deliveries | news

Su-30MKI to remain in IAF’s inventory until mid-century at the least

is working on improvements to the
aircraft. A line of work in this field is
to adapt the Su-30MKI to carry the
Brahmos-A heavy air-to-surface mis-
sile from Russian-Indian joint venture
BrahMos Aerospace. IAF provided two
new Su-30MKIs for the weapon’s tri-
als. The handover ceremony of the
first of them (SB200) modified to carry
the Brahmos-A took place in February
2015. The fighter first flew with the
Brahmos-A under the fuselage on
25 May 2016, and the missile’s first
drop test was conducted in December
2016. BrahMos Aerospace CEO & MD

Dr. Sudhir Mishra told Take-off in early

February 2017 that the first Brahmos-A
The Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi which, according to the Indian media, According to Mr. Raju, HAL pro- launch against a naval target from
Su-30MKI fighter fleet will remain in “more than 220” have been in service ductionised about 39,000 Su-30MKI Su-30MKI was to take place "in a cou-
service for 30–40 years more, Air Chief to date, including the 50 ready-made airframe parts and 1,015 assembly ple of months".
Marshal Arup Raha, until late last year aircraft shipped from Russia and the units as well as about 5,600 AL-31FP The Brahmos-A air-to-surface mis-
IAF Chief of the Air Staff (succeeded remainder made in India. engine components and learnt 133 sile measures 8.5 m long and has a
on Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh HAL Chairman and Managing new technologies, including mak- launch weight of 2,550 kg. Its speed
Dhanoa on 31 December), said on Director T. Suvarna Raju said at Aero ing cast and stamped engine parts. stands for 750 m/s (Mach 2.5) and
28 December 2016. This means that India 2017 in February, the corpora- India has long been producing the its range accounts for 290 km. The
the Su-30MKI adopted for service by tion had built 183 of the 222 ordered Su-30MKI within the framework of Su-30MKI carries one missile of the
IAF in 2002 and in licence production Su-30MKIs by April 2016, with the Phase IV of the licence contract, type. After its trials, the Indian Defence
in India since 2004 shall be operated remaining 39 to be delivered to IAF by under which Russia has supplied Ministry is expected to order the
until at least the middle of the century 2020 at the rate of 12 aircraft per year. mostly raw and other materials and upgrade of about 40 IAF Su-30MKI
or, maybe, longer. The Su-30MKI airframe manu- individual half-finished items. fighters to be armed by Brahmos-A.
The first 32 Su-30MKI fighters facture and final assembly under Since the first Su-30MKIs have In addition to the Brahmos-A’s
ordered in 1996 were exported to the Russian licence are handled been in IAF’s inventory for almost development to equip the IAF
India by Irkut Corp. during 2002–2004, by HAL’s facility in Nasik, HAL’s 15 years, their scheduled overhaul Su-30MKIs, a separate programme
and 18 aircraft more ordered in 2007 plant in Koraput makes AL-31FP is nearing. For this reason, HAL’s is under negotiations to upgrade the
to replace the 18 earlier supplied engines using components supplied plant in Nasik started overhauling the avionics of the earlier-built Su-30MKIs.
Su-30Ks were received by IAF during by UMPO, communication and navi- aircraft several years ago. The first In particular, provision has been made
2008–2009. gation aids are made in Hyderabad, Indian-overhauled Su-30MKI (SB027) for upgrading the Tikhomirov-NIIP
The licence production contract hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel units was delivered to IAF in a ceremony on Bars phased-array radar to refine its
for 140 Su-30MKIs, AL-31FP thrust in Lucknow, and multifunction 9 January 2015. characteristics, introduce new operat-
vector control engines and avionics, cockpit displays and satnav sys- At the same time with the Su-30MKI ing modes and adapt it to handle
including the Bars phased-array radars tems in Korwa. licence production and overhaul, India advanced weapons.
to outfit them with, was signed on
28 December 2000 – the major con-
tract in the history of the Russian-
Indian cooperation. IAF took delivery
of the first licence-produced Su-30MKI
from HAL on 28 November 2004.
Rosoboronexport and Irkut Corp.,
on the one hand, and the Indian
defence ministry and HAL, on the
other, signed a contract for 40 more
Su-30MKI knockdown kits in 2007.
Irkut delivered them during 2008–
2010. In December 2012, during
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s
visit to India, a deal was made for
42 knockdown kits more. Thus, the
overall number of Su-30MKI fighters

in IAF’s inventory will reach 272, of

40 take-off march 2017


Prospective engine
for short/medium-haul airliners

United Engine Corporation

16, Budyonnogo avenue, Moscow, 105118, Russia
march 2017 • Special edition for LIMA’17

gearing up
for maiden



Russian of 2016

Knights’ Su-30MKM

Su-30SM 10 years
in service

debut [p.18]
with RMAF

report: MiGs in Malaysia [p.34]