The Mikoyan MiG-29 is a 4th generation jet fighter aircraft designed for the air superiority role in the Soviet Union. It was developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau and it entered service in 1983 and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other nations. NATOs reporting name for the MiG-29 is ""Fulcrum"", which was unofficially used by Soviet pilots in service. It was developed to counter new American fighters such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the F/A-18 Hornet.
The MiG-29 is aerodynamically broadly similar to the Sukhoi Su-27, but with some notable differences. It is built largely out of aluminium. It has a mid-mounted swept wing with blended leading-edge root extensions (LERXs) swept at around 40°. There are swept tailplanes and two vertical fins, mounted on booms outboard of the engines. Automatic slats are mounted on the leading edges of the wings; they are four-segment on early models and five-segment on some later variants. On the trailing edge, there are maneuvering flaps and wingtip ailerons.
The MiG-29 has hydraulic controls and a SAU-451 three-axis autopilot but, unlike the Su-27, does not have a fly-by-wire control system. Nonetheless, MiG-29 is very agile, with excellent instantaneous and sustained turn performance, high alpha capability, and a general resistance to spins. The airframe is stressed for 9-g (88 m/sē) maneuvers. The controls have ""soft"" limiters to prevent the pilot from exceeding the g and alpha limits, but these can be disabled manually.
The MiG-29 was first publicly seen in the West during a visit to Finland in July 1986. Two were displayed at the Farnborough Air Show in Britain in September 1988. The following year, the aircraft conducted flying displays at the 1989 Paris Air Show where it was involved in a non-fatal crash during the first weekend of the show. The Paris Air Show display was only the second display of Soviet fighters at an international air show since the 1930s. Western observers were impressed by the MiG-29 apparent capability and exceptional agility.
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