The Commissioning of the Black Panthers - INAS 330. Over 180+ Photographs of the event.
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Special Thanks to Nikolai Novichkov (RSK-MiG) and Yefim Gordon (Famous Russian Aircraft: Mikoyan MiG-29)
Type: Fleet air defense with an anti-surface vessel and recon role.
Versions in Service: MiG-29K; Single-Seat Multirole Fighter.
...........................MiG-29KUB; Two-Seat Multirole Fighter/Trainer.
Take Off Weight (Normal): 18,550 kg (40,895 lbs)
Take Off Weight (Maximum): 22,400 kg (49,383 lbs)
Maximum Combat Load: 5500 kg (12,125 lbs)
Maximum Speed: 1296 knots (1491 mph; 2400 km/h) - high altitude.
.......................670 knots (771 mph; 1240 km/h) - sea level.
Maximum Rate of Climb (at sea level): 17,760 metres/min (58,260 feet/minute)
Operational Ceiling: 18,000 metres (59,055 feet)
Maximum Fuel Load: 5240 kg (11,552 lbs)
Maximum Combat Radius: 459 nautical miles (528 miles; 850 km) - with internal fuel.
..................................702 nautical miles (807 miles; 1300 km) - with external fuel tanks.
..................................1889 nautical miles (2174 miles; 3500 km) - with in-flight refueling.
Engine: Two Klimov/Sarkisov RD-33MK turbofans each producing 11,100 lbs dry thrust, 19,840 lbs thrust in reheat and 19,905 lbs thrust in an emergency reheat. Engines for the Indian Navy's MiG-29Ks will have smokeless combustors, an anti-corrosive coating, a total service life of 4000 hours with a basic overhaul time of 1000 hours and a short-time increased take-off-thrust rating.
Accommodation: The pilot is seated on a 10º inclined Zvezda K-36D-3.5 zero-zero ejection seats zero/zero ejection seat under rearward hinged transparent blister canopy in a high seat cockpit. This new ejection seat offers a G load during ejection limited to 3.5 and thus reduces the risk of spinal injuries without compromising safety. The cockpit has a sharply inclined one piece covered windscreen and three internal mirrors provide the rearward view. MNPK Avionika developed the BLP-3.5-2 ejection sequencing module for the trainer variant and this module rules out ejection seat collision during a simultaneous ejection, from an aircraft whose cockpits are enclosed by a common canopy.
Design Features: The MiG-29K is based on the 'basic' MiG-29K airframe, but is lighter in answer to the Indian Navy's requirements for the smallest possible dimensions to maximize use of space on the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov). The aircraft is based on the original MiG-29K airframe, but without the high-cost welded aluminum lithium fuel tanks and forward fuselage. The MiG-29K's fuel tanks are situated in the dorsal spine fairing and wing leading-edge root extensions. This reportedly gives the aircraft a 50% increase over the land-based MiG-29. Flight range can also be increased by in-flight refueling capability. With a 25-year design life, the MiG-29K features a larger wing area, incorporating a longer chord double-slotted flap and drooped elevons over the 'basic' MiG-29K. The wing root has a sharp leading edge. In addition, the central fuselage integral tank and a fuselage load-carrying section, to which the arrester hook and main struts are attached, were considerably strengthened.
The nose undercarriage is able to steer through +/- 90º and houses a three-colour lamp which indicates the aircraft's position on the glide path, and its landing speed, to a visual landing signal officer. The arrester hook is also fitted with an illumination system to indicate when it is lowered. Reportedly the radar reflecting surface of the MiG-29K is 4 to 5 times smaller than that of the standard MiG-29. The aircraft will have an improved navigation equipment commensurate with its maritime role. For deck landing, the aircraft will be fitted with a special navigation system comprising instrument landing systems interacting with the ship's markers, jam-resistant coded data link and automated built-in test facilities. In the event of the pilot having to eject near the aircraft carrier, the escape system will ensure that he is ejected clear of the ship. The export 'MiG-29K' will feature a triplex digital fly-by-wire control system, with multiple-redundancy in all three channels and a mechanical back-up in roll-and-yaw channels. A proven control algorithm used in the analog-digital flight control system on the basic 'MiG-29K' will be retained.
The dual-seat 'KUB' trainer has nearly identical (90% commonality) aerodynamic characteristics to the single-seat, export 'MiG-29K' fighter and has the same wing and tail plane platform geometry. To further ease transition from the trainer to the fighter, even the forward nose sections are identical. They are equipped with similar avionics and can carry the same armament (nearly 100% commonality). The trainer variant differs from the fighter variant only in having an additional fuel tank occupying the rear-seat cockpit. Both aircraft have an in-flight refueling capability, having a retractable refueling probe in the port forward fuselage, and may also be used as tankers. With the take-off and landing weights identical to the fighter, the trainer has 8% less fuel capacity and a 7% to 10% shorter combat radius. In addition to carrying out its main training role, the trainer has a fully operational capability. Indeed, the two man crew could open up additional roles such as airborne early warning or electronic warfare. In its combat role, the second pilot will act as a weapons systems operator.
These aircraft will be capable of day/night, all-weather, year-round operation in any climate, including tropics with ambient temperatures up to +35°C (+95°F) and air humidity up to 100%. The aircraft will be able to operate singly or in groups in the face of enemy fighter opposition and in an ECM environment, operating from CTOL carriers equipped with a ski jump or from shore bases. The take-off run on a carrier deck equipped with a bow ski jump is estimated as 125 - 195 meters (410 - 640 feet). With these aircraft operating in a salty sea environment, RSK MiG has adopted special corrosion protection measures for the airframe, avionics equipment and the RD-33MK turbofans. Radar-absorbing material (RAM) coatings will reduce the fighter's RCS by a factor of 4 to 5 as compared to the 'basic' MiG-29. Both variants feature a fully retractable L-shaped IFR probe on the port side of the nose in line with the cockpit windshield. Both variants have had their forward air intake blocker doors and spring-loaded dorsal doors - for FOD prevention - installed further downstream. This frees up internal space inside the LERXes, allowing it to be used for additional fuel.
Avionics: The MiG-29K/KUB will be equipped with Phazotron-NIIR Corporation's Zhuk-ME radar, which has a range of 150 km in detection mode and 130 km in tracking mode, against a target with a RCS (Radar Cross Section) of five square meters and can also fire missiles at four different targets simultaneously. The radar will have functions for operations in air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, using Thales' TopSight E helmet-mounted targeting system. Both variants will incorporate a ShKAl wide-angle monochrome HUD (Head-Up Display) and the 'K' variant will feature three MFI-10-7 high-performance liquid-crystal multi-function displays, while the 'KUB' variant will have seven such displays. The ShKAl HUD offers a 26° field of view, which allows the pilot to keep an eye on a much wider sector of airspace and use his weapons more effectively in that sector. The 6" x 8" liquid-crystal display has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels and can illustrate a digital terrain map & tactical situation data (information about aerial and ground/surface targets), thus enabling the pilot to maintain situational awareness.
The aircraft's nervous system comprises four multiplex databuses, which considerably speeds up communication between the miscellaneous electronic systems and increases its reliability. The more efficient data exchange system facilitates the integration of add-ons, should the need arise and the additional avionics can be connected to any of the four databuses, which creates numerous upgrade possibilities. The data transmission rate also conforms to the toughest existing standard (fibre channel). Although copper wires are still used as of now, fiber-optic cables will be incorporated later on. Both variants will feature a secure data link system enabling concerted action by a group of fighters. Due to the importance and complexity of the missions which the fighter will have to fulfill, the data link system will have set channels with a high data transmission rate making use of the latest type of interface. This avionics architecture is unique among today's fighters, rendering the aircraft extremely adaptable and upgradeable.
The aircraft's avionics will be based on MIL-STD 1533 bus. Although primarily to be armed with Russian weapons, Western weapons may be offered as an option. Integration of Western-made weapons is not expected to present problems, as RSK MiG has amassed experience of a variety of Western weapon systems during development of the Russian-French MiG-AT jet trainer and the mating the Kopyo radar on the MiG-21-93 for the IAF. The aircraft will also feature Sagem's Sigma-95 INS cum GPS receiver navigation system. Indian industry will supply the following equipment;
• A radio altimeter.
• An ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) set developed jointly with Russian avionics houses.
• An active ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) pod carried on the #8 hard point under the starboard wing.
• A UHF (ultra-high frequency) radio, which is also fitted to the Indian Air Force's Su-30MKI air dominance fighter.
• Two short-range radio navigation systems (for tactical area navigation and approach/landing) manufactured under licence from Thales.
Weapons: Due to an integrated weapon selection panel, the MiG-29K can use a wide range of weapons, which includes no less than eight types of air-to-air missiles and 25 air-to-surface weapons. The aircraft features eight under wing, weapons hardpoints plus a centerline hardpoint which can likewise be used for carrying bombs. The two inboard pylons under each wing can be fitted with tandem bomb racks, which effectively increases the number of hardpoints to thirteen. The weapon selection system enables the pilot to fire more than one type of weapon per attack. The aircraft is fitted with a 30mm Gryazev/Shipunov GSh-301 (TKB-687/9A4071K) single barrel gun, with 150 AO-18 rounds.
In the air superiority role, the aircraft can be armed with the close-combat R-73E and the beyond-visual-range R-77RVV-AE air-to-air missiles. In the sea-denial role, the AS-20 and the Kh-31A anti-ship missiles can be carried. In the SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences) role, the passive radar homing Kh-31P missile can be carried. Pinpoint strikes against ground targets are made possible by the Kh-29T TV-guided missile and the KAB-500KR TV-guided HE bomb or the KAB-500OD fuel-air bomb. The unguided weapons to be used include ordinary & cluster bombs of up to 500 kg (1102 lb) calibre (up to eleven FAB-500 HE bombs can be carried) and 240mm S-24B heavy unguided rockets (up to six).
Self Defence: The Russian-made IRCM (Infra-Red Counter Measures) system comprises two 16-round flare dispensers located on the sides of the engine nacelles, below the fins and fire downwards. The calibre of the flares has been increased to 50mm, which increases their burn time & heat signature and thus offering greater protection against heat-seeking missiles. The electronic warfare (EW) suite consists of the indigenous Tarang RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) and Elta's EL/L-8222 ECM pod. A pair of ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) transponders, in the wing strake, are built into the upper surfaces of the main wing.
Comments: A $740 million contract was signed on 20 January 2004, which will supply the Indian Navy with 16 MiG-29 aircraft (12 single-seat 'K' variants and 4 dual-seat 'KUB' variants). The contract also includes the full hardware for training maintenance & flying personnel, including simulators and interactive ground & sea based training systems. An option to acquire 30 additional aircraft by 2015, was also included in the contract. Reportedly in 2008, the Indian Navy exercised the option to purchase the 30 additional aircraft, which will include 4 dual-seat 'KUB' trainers. When all deliveries are completed, 38 single seat fighters and 8 dual seat trainers will have been inducted. Mikhail A Pogosyan, who serves as the head of Mikoyan, stated at Aero India '09 that the first four aircraft will be delivered in 2009 and delivery of the remaining aircraft will be completed by 2010. Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh, at a press conference on 13 April 2005, pegged the price of each aircraft at $32 million. Based on this calculation, the $740 million contract works out to $46.25 million per aircraft. The additional $14.25 million per aircraft (or $228 million in total) includes the cost of the full hardware for training personnel, simulators and interactive ground & sea based training systems.
An important part of the Indian Navy MiG-29 program, is the creation of a modern logistics system. Hence, RSK MiG has been developing such a system, involving aircraft operation with major overhauls, reduced maintenance man-hours, and full use of the infrastructure already existing in India for the servicing and repair of the MiG-29K/KUB, their equipment and engines, as well as an automated spares record & supply system. The maintenance plan during operations on a 'technical condition' basis, includes scheduled maintenance every 300 flight hours and technical condition checks every 1000 hours or every ten years; in other words the MiG-29K/KUB will have only three major checks during its lifetime. A switch to the technical condition' maintenance system cuts operating costs per flight hour by nearly 40%. A special warehouse for spares stocking is to be built in India for supporting these aircraft. This will reduce spares delivery time to maintenance personnel at the units, at a maximum of 72 hours, thus ensuring a fleet serviceability rate of 80 - 90%.
Rheinmetall Defence Electronics of Germany reported, on 15 March 2005, that they will be supplying the Indian Navy with a full-mission simulator for the MiG-29K/KUB fighter aircraft. The simulator was reportedly delivered to the Indian Navy in 2008 and has been commissioned at Dabolim, Goa. Dabolim is home to INS Hansa, the future land base for the MiG-29K/KUB fighter aircraft. It was reported in The Hindu that Indian Naval pilots have just commenced flight training, as the theory training was recently concluded. The intensive training takes place over six months in Russia, which began in October 2008. Once their training in Russia has been completed, the pilots will return to India and continue further training at the Shore-Based Test Facility (SBTF), that has been constructed with Russian help, at INS Hansa.
The aircraft were formally inducted into the Navy on 19 Feb 2010 with INAS 303 "Black Panthers"
IN 671 - KUB
IN 672 - KUB
IN 801 - K
IN 802 - K
IN 804 - K
Pre Delivery Testing http://pilot.strizhi.info/photos/v/in-flight_refueling/
LiveFist Blog - Differences between IAF and IN MIG-29s