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No. 9555. Mikoyan MiG-29K ("311") "Fulcrum-D" Russian Navy
Photograph from Mikoyan

Mikoyan MiG-29K

12/31/2009. Work on the MiG-29K (K = Korabelnyi, ship-based) began in 1983, upon request of the Soviet Navy, as a competitor for Su-27K. Airframe incorporated new materials or coatings to withstand marine environment, the wings could fold upwards at the flap/aileron joint, while the rear fuselage was strengthened for greater landing impacts and pull of arrester hook.

Project pilot Takhtar Aubakirov made the first flight with the pictured first of two prototypes on June 23, 1988. He also made first 20 of 66 flights from the Soviet carrier Tbilisi (later renamed Admiral Kuznetsov) in 1989. As the aircraft had no provision for catapulting, it ran up the engines to full afterburner against the ship's restrainers and then took off in 328 ft (100 m) over the ski jump.

The carrier trials were completed in 1993 after which the then Russian Navy decided to buy the Su-27K, and subsequently development of the MiG-29K was terminated.

However, after nearly seven years of negotiation it was announced on January 20, 2004, that India had bought sixteen aircraft. Furthermore, on October 9, 2009 it was reported the Russian Navy will obtain 24 aircraft from 2010 on.

Created December 31, 2009