Russia Has Deployed Its MiG-29SMT Multirole Combat Aircraft To Syria For The Very First Time

File photo of a Russian MiG-29SMT deployed to Syria in September 2017. (Image credit: Russian MOD)

Once again the Syrian Air War is the testbed for the most recent Russian Air Force weapons system. This time is the turn of the MiG-29SMT.

The Russian Air Force has deployed some MiG-29SMT multirole combat aircraft to Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, in western Syria, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed on Sept. 13, 2017.

It’s the first time the modernized version of the baseline Fulcrum jet is deployed to take part in the Syrian Air War.

The MiG-29SMT is an upgraded variant of the MiG-29 featuring a big 950-litre spine CFT (Conformal Fuel Tank) and an in-flight refueling system on the left hand side of the cockpit: it is equipped with a “glass cockpit” with two MFI-10-6M displays and IKSh-1M HUD (Head-Up Display). With a maximum range of 1,800 km (3,000 with three drop tanks), it can carry guided air-to-surface weapons.

According to “Russia’s Warplanes, Volume 1” by Piotr Butowski published by Harpia Publishing, one of the most authoritative sources on Russian  military aircraft and helicopters today, besides the baseline Fulcrum loadout, the MiG-29SMT can carry two R-27T medium-range IR-guided air-to-air missiles or two extended-range R-27ER/ET AAMs, or up to six RVV-AE AAMs. Air-to-ground weapons include two Kh-29T/L, up to four Kh-25M, or two Kh-31A7P missiles, or up to four KAB-500 guided bombs. The first images emerging from Syria show at least one aircraft with two unguided FAB-500s.

The Russian Air Force plans to operate a fleet of 44 MIG-29SMT fighters: 28 were returned from Algeria (that ordered the aircraft in February 2006 and broke the contract after 16 were delivered because they claimed that the airframes were not brand new – these, according to Butowski were acquired by the Russian MoD and delivered to a fighter regiment in Kursk-Khalino beginning in February 2009)  and another batch (whose complete delivery status is not known) of 16 aircraft ordered in 2014 and due to delivery by the end of 2016.

The video below shows the MiG-29SMTs in Syria for the very first time.

Anyway, the deployment of the upgraded Fulcrum is worth of note: it represents the latest of a long series of Russian advanced “hardware” put to test in the Syrian theater.

Top image credit: Russian MoD

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. ” … it represents the latest of a long series of Russian advanced “hardware” …”.

    Funny, isn’t it. You know – how one country’s advanced is another country’s old tech.

    Poor, backwards Russia. Well at least Israel with their F-35s, Turkey with their F-16s and Saudi Arabia with their F-15s are under no threat whatsoever from these MiGs. Especially Israel’s F-35Is. They could take out a MiG-29 as easy as a breeding rooster mounts a Plymouth Rock hen.

    • As far as guided missiles goes, russia has a better arsenal. Even on air to air there is paraty. If you are talking about a delivery system, mig 29smt might be actually good for the role.

      Israel planes were not shut down for one reason, and one only, Syria s-200 are less than ideal to cover a long range, but S300 easily shuts down an f16. As far as the S400 vs F35, we still don’t know the results.
      But this is classic doctrine. Russians have always favored ground to air defenses, and EUA Air to Air.

      Btw, a mig 29smt is not as easy to lock and actually get a shot as you might think… watch it’s specs closely.

    • same old line… you do realise by virtue of your constant troll posting on anything russian, youve become something of a joke…. right?

      why do you bother any more? do you actually think anyone takes you seriously?

      i pity anyone who has to go to these lengths…. see a doctor buddy, break the habit.

    • LOL, what a way to uplift your “fighting spirit”. Compare apples with apples if you care about the truth.

    • The F-35 is a turkey. I’m sure the Russians are quaking in their boots. Oh! Lord! What’s to moderate!

  2. ” 28 were returned from Algeria (that ordered the aircraft in February
    2006 and broke the contract after 16 were delivered because they claimed
    that the airframes were not brand new”

    LOL. Classic Russia.

    • After that, Algerians bought more than 50 brand new Su-30MKAs, so obviously they were very satisfied with the quality this time.

  3. Of course, the American plains are better, right, have seen it on movies, haven’t you.

    Ask the Veterans, about the NK wally, and why they never reveal the real numbers, how much was in fact shoot down, by air plains and ground forces, etc, etc.

    In fact I dont think anyone of this plains have been put to an real deal, in various scenarios your plains loose even to the Swedish Viggen, huh, and others, but hey, you have Top Gun to drool over, and on top of it, forgets the electronics, EW, boy, the things they showed your army in the latest Cruise missile attack, just to demonstrate.

    Low tech, yeah, ask the Saudis, about sandals and Kalashnikov, I think they will not be so cocky, and by the way, 3 world dungeons, thats all your forces have been up against, and never been threatened, the Turkish shooting was on an friendly plain, whom ddnt expect anything, wile on recon, that is like shooting down an duck with an cannon, tells me nothing.

    But one thing is air superiority, the second is what about the carriers, big planet size targets.
    Yeah, they have to come down somewhere.
    F35, hehe, yeah, the goose.
    And why do the old men, some of those that have been to wars, is worried, that you have underestimated everything, and one even claimed your fleet would last for aprox 48 h, before it will be gone.
    The Iron Dome is an billion dollar joke, read the facts.

    Think about that, before you brag about things that nobody knows will be of any use at all.


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