Russia Grounds MiG-29s after Fatal Crash
posted by Paul Fiddian | 24.06.2011
All Russian Air Force MiG-29 flight operations have been banned for the time being, following the crash of one aircraft earlier in the week.
The MiG-29 flight suspension potentially grounds well over 250 aircraft, including single-seat MiG-29As and two-seat MiG-29UBs.
The MiG-29 is a fourth-generation multirole combat aircraft in service with a wide variety of nations, including Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
The former Soviet Air Force got its first examples in 1983 and, since the type's first flight in 1977, it's been the basis for a massive series of upgrades. These include the MiG-29 OVT, which has thrust vectoring capabilities.
Russian MiG-29 crash
The MiG-29 crash occurred early on the 23 June 2011 close to Astrakhan city, in Southern Russia, and resulted in the deaths of both crew members on board.
Shortly afterwards, confirmation of the grounding measure was provided by a Russian Air Force official.
"Following the crash of the MiG-29 fighter in Astrakhan region, all flights of this kind of jets have been suspended by the Russian Air Force Chief Committee", Colonel Igor Konashenkov was quoted as having said by news agency RIA Novosti.
Russian MiG-29s Grounded
The colonel added that Russian MiG-29s would be grounded until an investigation had established just why the crash occurred.
Two separate MiG-29 crashes took place in 2008. Checks carried out after these indicated that a number of aircraft were suffering from corrosion.
Until recently, the MiG-35 - a highly-advanced derivative - was thought to be in the running to win the Indian Air Force MRCA contract, but it's now believed that this has been condensed down to a two-aircraft race, involving the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale.
The MiG-29 was conceived as an aircraft to counter the US superfighters of the 1970s, including the F-15 Eagle. Like the Eagle, it's a twin-engined, twin-tailed design and it has a top speed of Mach 2.25 at altitude.
Its weapons fit includes Aphid, Alamo, Adder and Archer air-to-air missiles, fitted to six underwing hardpoints.
MiG-29 image courtesy of USAF