Mikoyan MiG-29K

The Mikoyan MiG-29K is a Russian all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft developed by the Mikoyan design bureau. The MiG-29K was developed in the late 1980s from MiG-29M. Mikoyan describes it as a 4++ generation aircraft.

Production MIG-29K differ from prototypes by features such as a multi-function radar and several new cockpit displays; the adoption of HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) controls; the integration of RVV-AE air-to-air missiles, along with missiles for anti-ship and anti-radar operations; and several ground/strike precision-guided weapons.

The MiG-29K was not ordered into production and only two prototypes were originally built because the Russian Navy preferred the Su-27K in the early 1990s. The Mikoyan Design Bureau did not stop its work on the MiG-29K aircraft despite the lack of financing since 1992. The programme got a boost in the late 1990s to meet an Indian requirement for a ship-borne fighter following the purchase of a former Soviet aircraft carrier. It was first received by the Indian Naval Air Arm in 2009.

Mikoyan MiG-29K
Class Aircraft
Type Attack
Manufacturer Mikoyan
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1988
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
India 2004 View
Russia (USSR) 2009 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mikoyan 2005 View

Design Overview:

The MiG-29K was drastically modified from the Mikoyan MiG-29M for naval operations. The airframe and undercarriage were reinforced to withstand the stress experienced upon landing. Folding wings, an arrestor hook, and catapult attachments were added for carrier operations; the aircraft's undercarriage was also widened. The MiG-29K, unlike the early MiG-29, can both conduct aerial refueling and "buddy" refuel other aircraft.

The MiG-29K has two widely spaced RD-33MKs. The early prototypes were fitted with two RD-33K turbofan engines, each with afterburner thrust of 86.3 kN (19,800 lb) and a possible take-off thrust of 92.2 kN (20,723 lbf) for shipborne operations. The RD-33MK engine features 7% higher power over the base RD-33, enabled by the usage of improved materials for the turbine blades.

Internal fuel was increased from 3,340 kg to 4,560 kg, to give a combat radius of 850 km (531 mi). The combat radius can be increased to 1,300 kilometers with 3 underwing fuel drop tanks. The maximum weight of the aircraft grew from 19.5 to 22.4 t, to allow for increased payloads. The MiG-29KUB two-seat fighter, intended for pilot training, can also conduct combat missions identical to the single-seat fighter.

Cockpit and avionics

The aircraft is equipped with three multifunctional color liquid-crystal displays (seven LCDs on the MiG-29KUB), a four-channel digital fly-by-wire flight control system, passive anti-radar missile homing system, Sigma-95 GPS receiver, TopGun helmet-mounted targeting system and electronic countermeasures (ECM). Additionally, an onboard oxygen generating system eliminates the need for heavy oxygen canisters. The types of combat missions undertaken by the MiG-29K can be increased by adding optronic/infrared imaging reconnaissance pods.

The Zhuk-ME is a development of the N010 Zhuk radar, introducing functions such as terrain mapping and following. The radar, weighing 220 kilograms (490 lb), features improved signal processing and a detection range of up to 120 km vs a 5 m2 RCS target for the export variant. In the air targeting mode, up to 10 targets can be tracked and 4 targets engaged simultaneously. In air to surface mode the radar can detect a tank from up to 25 kilometres (16 mi) away and a bridge from 120 kilometres (75 mi) away, a naval destroyer could be detected up to 300 kilometres (190 mi) away, while up to two surface targets can be tracked at once. The radar has a scanning area of +/- 85 degrees in azimuth and +56/-40 in elevation.

The Zhuk-AE radar was developed with modular approach, enabling upgrade of existing Zhuk ME radars deployed in MiG-29 platforms into the active electronically scanned array (AESA) Zhuk-AE standard. India is already operating the Bars phased array radar on its Su-30MKI and has specified AESA as a critical element of the MRCA platform. The Mig-29K can be outfitted with an IRST system integrated with both optical and laser systems. It can provide targeting solutions for ground and air targets at up to 15 km, with all-round 360 degree coverage. The IRST can also provide detailed trajectories of missiles at closer ranges.

Weapons and defensive capabilities

A MiG-29K and its armaments at MAKS Airshow.The folded wings maximise the limited space available on an aircraft carrier.

MiG-29K has a GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. It has provisions for laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles like Kh-25ML/25MP, Kh-29T, Kh-31G/31A, Kh-35U, and rockets. Kh-31P passive radar seeker missiles are used as anti-radiation missiles. Kh-35, Kh-31A antiship missiles are for anti-ship roles; for aerial combat air-to-air missile like RVV-AE, R-27ER/ET and R-73E are fitted. The aircraft is also adaptable to various foreign weapons.

The MiG-29K has a combination of low-observable technology, advanced electronic-warfare capabilities, reduced ballistic vulnerability, and standoff weapons to enhance the fighter's survivability. According to Mikoyan, extensive use of radar-absorbent materials reduce the MiG-29K's radar signature 4–5 times over the basic MiG-29. The RD-33MK turbofan engine was also engineered to reduce infrared signature and improve aircraft camouflage.


In 2004 India ordered 12 MiG-29K single-seat and 4 MiG-29KUB two-seat fighters. The MiG-29K is to provide both airborne fleet air defense and surface attack capabilities. Deliveries began in December 2009. Prior to their delivery to India, the MiG-29Ks underwent testing on board the Admiral Kuznetsov. In January 2010, India and Russia signed a deal worth US$1.2 billion for the Indian Navy to receive an additional 29 MiG-29Ks. The MiG-29K entered operational service with India in February 2010. Further deliveries of 5 MiG-29Ks and a flight simulator took place in May 2011. Further deliveries are to continue through 2012. The fighters are based at INS Hansa in Goa on India's west coast until the Admiral Gorshkov joins the navy under the name of INS Vikramaditya in last quarter of 2013. The Vikramaditya is expected to carry up to 24 MiG-29K/KUB fighters. The future indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant, currently being built by India, is also likely to carry these aircraft.

Further MiG-29K orders by India were frozen after a MiG-29KUB crashed during testing in Russia prior to delivery to India; the Indian Defense Ministry commented that the crash cast a shadow on the credibility of the aircraft. Russia later announced that pilot error had caused the crash, and there was no need to ground the aircraft. In August 2011, MiG's General Director Sergei Korotkov announced that the final 5 out of the 16 aircraft contracted in 2004 would be delivered by the end of the year; and that deliveries of a second batch of 29 MiG-29Ks would begin in 2012. In November 2012, the MiG-29K/KUB completed sea trials for the Indian Navy.


The Russian Navy has a fleet of approximately 20 Su-33s, which are expected to be life expired by 2015. Production of new Su-33s is possible but not cost-effective for small volumes. The MiG-29K was more convenient, as the Indian Navy had already ordered the aircraft, saving on development and production set-up. India paid $730 million for the development and delivery of 16 units, while 24 for the Russian Navy would cost approximately $1 billion. In September 2011, it was announced that the MiG-29K was to conduct its first at-sea deployment on board Admiral Kuznetsov in the Mediterranean.

The Russian Navy ordered 24 MiG-29Ks in late 2009 for the Admiral Kuznetsov. Deliveries of the MiG-29K for the Russian Navy started in 2010. MiG and Russia were in final negotiations for an order for more MiG-29K/KUB aircraft in August 2011, with an order for 20 MiG-29K fighter-bombers and four MiG-29KUB operational trainers for operation from Admiral Kuznetsov, replacing the Sukhoi Su-33, being officially announced during February 2012.

Role Carrier-based multirole fighter
National origin Soviet Union, Russia
Manufacturer Mikoyan
First flight 23/07/88
Introduction 19/02/10
Status In production
Primary users Indian Navy, Russian Navy
Produced 2005–present
Unit cost $32 million
Developed from Mikoyan MiG-29M

General characteristics
  • Crew: One / Two (KUB)
  • Length: 17.3 m (57.76 ft)
  • Wingspan: 11.99 m (39.34 ft)
  • Height: 4.40 m (14.44 ft)
  • Wing area: 43 m² (462 ft²)
  • Loaded weight: 18,550 kg (40,900 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 24,500 kg (54,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Klimov RD-33MK afterburning turbofans, 9,000 kgf (88.3 kN, 19,800 lbf) each

  • Maximum speed: Mach 2+ (2,200+ km/h, 1,370+ mph) / At low altitude: Mach 1.2 (1,400 km/h, 870 mph)
  • Ferry range: 2,000 km (1,243 mi) / 3,000 km (1,860 mi) with 3 drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 17,500 m (57,400 ft)
  • Rate of climb: initial 330 m/s, average 109 m/s 0–6,000 m (65,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 442 kg/m² (90.5 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.97
  • Maximum g-load: +8 g

  • 1 x 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon with 150 rounds
  • 13 hardpoints (5 wet) including the ones on multi-lock bomb carriers for up to 5,500 kg (12,125 lb) of weapons and fuel tanks, including
Air-to-air missiles
  • Eight air-to-air missiles — a mix of infrared homing, semi-active radar homing (SARH) and Active radar homing.
  • Vympel R-73
  • Vympel R-27
  • Vympel R-77
Air-to-surface missiles
  • Kh-25ML
  • Kh-29T
  • Kh-35U
Anti-radiation missiles
  • Kh-25MP
  • Kh-31P
Anti-ship missiles
  • Kh-31A
  • Kh-35
  • Yakhont, in the future
  • RBK-250
  • RBK-500
  • RBK-750
  • FAB 500-M62 General-purpose bomb,
  • FAB-1000, (1,500 kg / 3,300 lb),
  • KAB-500KR electro-optical TV-guided fire and forget bomb
  • Flares/Infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod or
  • Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod or
  • Targeting pods or
  • Refuelling pods or
  • Zhuk -ME radar
  • Infrared search and track system
  • SPO-15 Beryoza RWR (radar warning receiver)

End notes