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.

6 Comments

  1. Meanwhile , rumors said that the F-22 moved back to Germany for…
    coughhh coughhhh……”exercises”…..

    Once happened again , when the Su-30SM arrived in Syria….

  2. These are from the batch of MiGs that Algeria returned to Russia for not meeting the required specifications by the Algerian Defense Ministry to endow the Algerian Air Force with modern multirole fighter aircraft ; the Su-30MK was preferred instead.
    Those MiG-29 SMT in Syria are probably flown by Syrian pilots and would eventually end up in Syrian Air Force arsenal.

  3. This is mostly aircraft masturbation.
    Since the Russian versions, and pilots are more advanced, and better trained, there’s no practical way to determine which will prevail. Then do it consistantly.

  4. I wouldn’t bet against a F35 in a dogfight….lots of power and excellent turning ability like a F16….better high AOA maneuverability than the F/A 18. It has a HMD and HOBS IR missile (Aim 9X/ASRAAM) if you want to play that game. The Mig 29 pilot better bring his A+++++ game to the fight.

    BTW, an Iraqi Mig 29 pilot thought he could out dogfight a F15C in GW1….poor Mig 29 pilot flew into the ground instead (a MANEUVERING kill for the F15C no less). It’s the fate of Mig 29s to be smoking holes in the ground.

    • Yes, they are. India got all the necessary know-how to build the Su-30MKI on its own, because they paid for it.

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