Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29M (9-15) - what the fulcrum would have been

Would you like to see this aircraft added to the game?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

What kind of vehicle should it be?
  • Tech tree vehicle
  • Premium vehicle
  • Event vehicle
  • I don’t want the the aircraft in game

0 voters

If it comes as a tech tree vehicle, where do you want it to be placed?
  • After the MiG-29SMT
  • In a folder under the MiG-29SMT
  • Other
  • I don’t want this aircraft to be a tech tree vehicle
  • I don’t want the aircraft in game

0 voters

Suggestion made by @EpicBlitzkrieg87, @dragonflaine71 and me.

History:

In late 70s, soviet engineers were seeking to modernize the MiG-29 and fix its flaws to meet operational requirements, their objective was to increase the plane’s versatility, range and improve working conditions for the pilot. Their efforts resulted in the MiG-29M product 9.15, which got its prototype making its first flight showcasing its capabilities on 25th April 1986.

In total, they built 6 prototypes for the aircraft, the final one known as ‘blue 156’, built in late 1991, which had all the features of the supposed production version (including the full avionic suite and the ability to fire (which it did in testing) all soviet/russian air to air missiles of the time) and is the one that the pictures and payloads from this thread are referring at.

The six prototypes achieved over 1000 hours of flight in various tests.

However, as you probably know, during that time the soviets were facing economic and geopolitical difficulties that directly affected a lot of military projects, then, in 1991, the USSR collapsed together with all of the financing of the defense industry inherited subsequently by the Russian Federation, which eliminated any hopes of mass producing the MiG-29M, despite serial production being recommended several times in the mid to late 90s.

If the USSR hadn’t collapsed, this plane would have probably been the backbone of the VVS, just like the F-16C was for the USAF.

Improvements over the MiG-29A:

Unlike variants such as the MiG-29S, SE and SMT, the MiG-29M was a deep redesign of the MiG-29, and it is an improvement over the original MiG-29A across many aspect, especially those that were weak points of the fulcrum:

First of all the original N019 Rubin radar was replaced with the much more modern and effective N010 Zhuk (it’s the radar the yak141 has in game), and with it the ability to carry and fire active radar homing missiles. In particular the Zhuk allows the aircraft to track 12 targets at the same time and engage 4 of them in TWS mode and with the R-77 active radar homing missile.

The optoelectronic suit was also updated to the OEPrNK-29M, which featured both improved IR and TV search and track and a new laser ranger unit. This not only increased detection range for aircraft, but gave the the ability to designate ground targets and guide BOTH tv-guided and laser guided air to ground weapons.

The MiG-29M also featured many improvements focused on improving the aircraft low speed performance:

The biggest source of improvement for this over the MiG-29A is certainly the new analog fly by wire system (with 4 times redundancy for pitch control and 3 times for roll and yaw control), which allowed the MiG-29M to become unstable in the pitch control channel (relaxed stability), which dramatically improves the sustainability of high alpha maneuvers (for those wondering yes this MiG-29 can do a perfect cobra just like the Su-27)

Other aerodynamic improvements include sharper leading edges for LERXes to generate more powerful vortices at high angles of attack, increased span for ailerons and increased area for the stabilator (the MiG-29M can be easily recognised by this new stabilator, as it featured a sort of “dog tooth”). Maximum AoA without disabling the flight control system went from 26-28 degrees of the MiG-29A to 30 degrees in testing, with plans to further push the limit given the new airframe capabilities. Still according to test pilots the improvement is not so much on maximum AoA but how sustainable, easy and efficient is flying near it.

Together with this aerodynamic improvements the more powerful and fuel efficient Rd-33K engines come into the picture. This new engines have a rated bench thrust of 5495kgf dry and 8800kgf on afterburner, (compared to 5037kgf and 8300kgf respectively for the Rd-33) and also featured a new duplex full authority digital engine control system (the FADEC) that replaced the original Rd-33 analog control and gave the engine better acceleration (and improved reliability).

Feeding air to the new engines is an all new and redesigned and much improved intake system. The MiG-29M ditched the upper intakes and solid protection doors of the original MiG-29, replacing those with downward-hinging grids and perforated walls in the main wheel well to admit additional air when these grids were raised. A new lower lip that could deflect up to 20 degrees was also introduced to reduce thrust loss at high angles of attack (this essentially does the same job as the F-15’s deflecting intakes). This new intake system was also controlled by the FADEC.

This new engines improved the climb rate to 335m/s and improved acceleration despite the new aircraft being 500kg heavier compared to the 9-13.

Structural improvements were also made, with the structure becoming welded instead of riveted and many parts being made from composite materials (mainly aluminum-lithium alloy).

The structure being welded and not riveted and the removal of the complex upper intakes created much more internal space. This helped to fix another major shortcoming of the original MiG-29: fuel capacity, which made a big jump from 3500kg to 5700kg.
All this extra fuel, together with the more efficient engines and aerodynamic improvements, extended the range to 2200km.

Other major improvements/changes were:

  • 8 under wing pylons instead of 6 (with this also came the ability to carry 3 instead of only 1 drop tanks. Range with 3 drop tanks jumps to over 3200km).

  • Increased load out maximum weight from 4000kg to 4500kg

  • New cockpit with HOTAS controls, 2 large MFD and higher position of the pilot to improve visibility.

  • Split style airbrake replaced with a dorsal airbrake similar to the one of the Su-27.

  • 120 total countermeasures with the launchers placed in the fuselage

  • Improved (but still low) airframe life of 2500 hours (could be easily extended to 4000 hours thought).

  • ECM: Gardeniya-1FU jammer with 360 degree coverage.

Pictures:

The stabilator’s “dog tooth” and increased aileron span can be seen here (Prototype 156 number was later changed to 301, although it still displays 156 at the top of the rudder)

Cockpit of prototypes: 155 left, 156 right:
1008022480_MiG-29Mpits.jpg.17a1ca0609c8dae3a846315f7eb7d676

Prototype 155 with mixed load out (the sharper LERXes are very apparent in this picture when compared to a MiG-29A)

Prototype 155 take off:

Prototype 156 on ground

X-ray
MiG-29M_cutaway.thumb.jpg.4fbfb9f346ccfb5b7ef03c130597e90a

Zoomed in picture of prototype 155 taking off, inside the green circle can be seen the intake’s lower lip that will deflect at high angles of attack to improve airflow
Screenshot 2023-12-20 at 15.22.16

Specifications:

Length: 17.32m
Wing span: 11.36m
Height: 4,73m
Wing are: 38.06m^2
Empty weight: 11600kg
Maximum take off weight: 22300kg
Engine bench dry thrust: 5450kgf x2
Engine bench Afterburner thrust: 8800kgf x2
Fuel capacity: 5700kg
Fuel capacity with 3 drop tanks: 9630l
Maximum speed: 2450kph (mach 2.3)
Rate of climb (sea level): 335m/s
Rate of climb (1000m altitude): 310m/s
Service ceiling: 17000m
Hardpoints: 9
RWR: Spo-15T (According to this article it featured the L-150 pastel. This upgrade may have been made to some prototypes during the 90s after the fall of the USSR)

Information about the Spo-15T RWR

Spoiler

The Spo-15T is a digitalized versions of the Spo-15M RWR, which was an upgraded version of the Spo-15 with improved sensors that could detect radio waves from a frequency of 2Ghz (E-band) to 15 Ghz (J-band).

Here’s a picture of the Spo-15T interface:

Armament and load out:

Gun: Gsh30 with 150 rounds.

What air to air load out and guided weapon options would look like:


Full load out options (here in the picture it doesn’t show 6 guided weapons but all sources (including the article this picture was taken from) confirm the capability to carry 6 air to ground guided missiles/bomb)

Some background on the R-77

Spoiler

The R-77 is the most famous Soviet/Russian active radar homing missile.
The development of the missile started in 1982 (around the same time the US started developing the AMRAAM), with the missile entering into early production in 1984, concluding state acceptance trials in 1991 and fully entering service in 1994.
The missile features all a characteristics of modern active radar homing missiles, including datalink, inertial guidance, good G overload capability and a lighter weight compared to its close semi-active radar homing missile predecessors.
The missile’s seeker, called “9B-1348”, will lock the target (aka missile goes pitbull) 16km away.

Characteristics and stats of the R-77

  • Length: 3.5 m (138 in)
  • Wingspan: 0.4 m (15.7 in)
  • Body Diameter: 200 mm (7.87 in)
  • Weight: 175 kg (386 lb)
  • Speed: Mach 4
  • Burn time: 8s
  • Propulsion: Single stage solid propellant rocket motor (unknown type and thrust)
  • Warhead: 22 kg (48.5 lb) HE expanding rod
  • Guidance: Active Radar-Homing (+ inertial + ARLSN)
  • Range: 100 km max (62 mi)
  • G overload (launch limit): 8G
  • G overload (Air): 30G (some sources claim 40G)
  • ECCM: Yes
  • 9B-1348 Seeker range: 16km
  • Range against defending/maneuvering target: 40-25km

MiG-29M with 8 R-77
mig29m-7

How the MiG-29M would look like in game and why it would be a great addition.

I think best way I could summarise how the MiG-29M would look like in war thunder is a “balanced and strong addition”.

  • Balanced because the aircraft is doesn’t really introduce any new game breaking weapons/features in the game: the radar it has is the same radar we already have on the yak141 and is inferior to the Zhuk-M of the SMT. The RWR is the (not so) good old Spo-15 (also inferior to the
    Pastel of the SMT) , and the missiles are already in the game with (at the time of writing the suggestion) the exception of the R-77, that can be already carried by the yak141 and the SMT.
    Speaking of the R-77 and missile load outs, the fact that it can carry a maximum of 8 missile total (and all of them can be R-77) would make it perfectly balanced against the F-15 (which can also carry a maximum of 8 missiles which can all be amraams).

  • Strong because the aircraft combines a still very good kit with flight performance that is comparable (probably better in a dogfight) to the MiG-29A, which would make it far more enjoyable to play compared to the MiG-29SMT.

The aircraft would also be a great addition for ground RB, as it can carry much more guided ordinance (refer to load out section) compared to the MiG-29SMT, although the load out is still inferior to the one of the F-16C.

In short in game it would be:

  • An aircraft that would be an excellent dogfighter that wouldn’t add any kind of missile/avionic that would increase the power creep at top tier air
  • A competent CAS platform

MiG-29ovt

Spoiler

The prototype 156 was, when any hopes of getting the MiG-29M into production were lost, later refitted with 3D thrust vectoring nozzles for his Rd-33 engines, capable of deflecting 15 degrees in any direction. This gave the aircraft quite insane maneuvrability.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IFUxLhW4Sk&t=163s

Sources:

Spoiler

“Famous Russian Aircraft - MiG-29” by Yefim Gordon (Midland Publishing, 2006) (ISBN 1857802314, 9781857802313)
https://www.airwar.ru/enc/fighter/mig29m.html
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum - History, Design, Performance & Dissection
How good was Mig-29m 9.15 - Military and Aviation - ED Forums
https://www.airwar.ru/enc_e/fighter/mig29m.html
https://ruslet.webnode.cz/technika/ruska-technika/letecka-technika/a-i-mikojan-a-m-i-gurjevic/mig-29m-fulcrum-e-/
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29M (9-15) : Mikoyan-Gurevich
‘FULCRUM’: THE STORY OF A RUSSIAN CLASSIC - PART TWO
“Soviet Cold War Fighters” by Alexander Mladenov
☭History, Design & Performance of All Russian Air-to-Air Missiles (IR, SARH, ARH)☭ - Soviet Union - War Thunder - Official Forum

https://www.loneflyer.com/2021/04/16/sistemi-rwr-sovietici/

23 Likes

upppppp

5 Likes

brabo

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Nice. I would like to see this in the game.

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dude, amazing

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Up!!!

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Apologies for deleting my comments, I needed to take a minute to think better lmao

I think that if they ever add the 9-13S (So the MiG-29S, basically the one we have in game but with N019M and 2x R-77 capability) and this one, it should be foldered like this;
MiG-29A (9-13)
MiG-29S (9-13S)
|
MiG-29SMT
MiG-29M

I’m not really sure which would be better, the SMT or the M, but I’d guess the M because the SMT uses M upgrades on the various A versions. So it would be best if the SMT went first and then the M came after, I think.
I’m not sure about the R-77 situation though, maybe it would be best to wait on those until they (hopefully) do a whole advanced AAM update to avoid powercreep. So as is, without the R-77s, it would just be a better SMT (if I understand correct).
Also, is this MiG-29M supposed to be the 90s prototype version, or the 2005 (or later) prototype/production version(s)? Is there even a big difference between them?

7 Likes

All good :-)

That’s exactly what was about to answer to the previous comment, the MiG-29S deserves the spot under the MiG-29A. Thinking about it they could do a 3 plane folder thought

The aircraft in the proposal is the 9-15, which is the late 80s- early 90s prototype version.
Compared to the 2005 MiG-29M/M2 this aircraft has definitely far weaker avionics (modern MiG-29M/M2 have PESA radars, far better RWR and a lot of extra stuff) and can carry less modern missiles. Flight performance wise I don’t really know, but the M/M2 is probably better also there as the aerodynamic layout is similar to the M apart from the canopy and at the same time is 600kg lighter.

Between the SMT and this one in air RB there are some trade-offs, but overall i’d say the MiG-29M is stronger, especially for the current meta.
The flight performance difference between this and the SMT is absolutely gigantic and this together with having 2 extra missiles imho makes it worth it, as the Zhuk isn’t a lot worse than the Zhuk-M and the RWR, while extremely important, isn’t as big of a deal compared to flight performance and number of missiles.
In the future thought the SMT can receive more modern missiles/equipment such as the R-73M, R-74, R-77-1, although it remains to be seen if this really modern missiles will ever be added to the game (especially considering how little info there’s about them).

In ground RB instead this MiG-29 is definitely a superior CAS platform, as it can carry more guided weapons and can fire laser guided ones without the need for a targeting pod

2 Likes

Of course, I do not know if the MiG-29S will be in the game and how many R-77 missiles will be given to him in the game…In reality, the MiG-29S can carry 6 R-77 missiles…

Spoiler

image

4 Likes

IMO If added soon, the M will be superior because it would carry more weapons and it’ll be much better in terms of maneuverability, but in the long term when we get into modern stuff the SMT will eventually surpass it because it’ll probably get r74s and late variants of the r77. If they add the 29M in a few months i think it should be after the SMT, later when they give the SMT these mentioned missiles they can readjust its position in the TT like they did with some other vehicles before.

1 Like

+1 as squadron since it’s a prototype, but quite unique and too good (extra missile pylons, better engines) to be an event/premium

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Mhmm could be but idk, i think it would be great if it came as a tt vehicle together with the f15c introducing fox3s as both can carry the same amount of such missiles…

+1. Would it get a higher br than the SMT?

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For now gaijin doesn’t want to increase the br. With the current missiles I believe it would be at the same br (12.3) as it is still has a worse (although still very good) kit compared to the Su-27.

When Fox-3 missiles will come it will probably be at an higher br than this Su-27 and most likely equal or higher than the SMT as well, since the flight performance of this MiG-29 is much better compared to the SMT

4 Likes

+1 for the suggestion

This would pair very well with the carrier-based MiG-29K, which if I understand right is a navalized MiG-29M that actually went into production and service. I can imagine the MiG-29K (and subsequent Su-27K/33) would actually succeed the Yak-141 in the tech tree as Russian Naval jets

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It is a bit more complicated than that: derived from this MiG-29M is the MiG-29K 9-31, which was built in two prototypes and never saw production. Later from that MiG-29K a new MiG-29K was designed (it is called MiG-29K 9-41) which is the one in service with the Indian and Russian navies. From this new MiG-29K 9-41 a new land based MiG-29M was created in 2005, which is referred as MiG-29M/M2 (which I believe is 9-67) and that was later further developed into the MiG-35.

Basically the whole thing is:
MiG-29M (9-15) → MiG-29K (9-31) → MiG-29K (9-41) → MiG-29M/M2 (9-67) → MiG-35

Unless they add the 9-31, then imho the MiG-29K should come after the Su-33, as it is much more modern

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Personally I would think that this should be an event vehicle and the MiG-35 should be what this is. Like the F-4F early/ late and MiG-23 MF/MLA.

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While I can see the point on it being an event vehicle, the MiG-35 is just too modern for the game right now. While definitely not the most advanced aircraft today, modern AESA radar and thrust vectoring is quite a bit too far too modern stuff for the game

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I guess if the “production” yak-41 is in the game I guess the Fulcrum-E prototype would be ok.

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i was about to mention the yak xd

1 Like