MiG-29 Upgrade Makes
First Demonstration Flight
by Rob Hewson
05/11/00 02:08:30 PM U.S. EDT
Romania’s Aerostar flew its upgraded MiG-29 Sniper demonstrator aircraft for the first time on May 5, at the company’s Bacau factory headquarters. DaimlerChrysler Aerospace’s chief test pilot, Wolfgang Schirdewann, was at the controls during the 42-minute flight.
Aerostar, DaimlerChrysler and Israel’s Elbit developed the Sniper as an upgrade for about 18 MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum-As’ in service with Romanian and other Eastern European air forces. The Sniper’s improved onboard systems will be fully compatible with NATO and ICAO standards. The redesigned cockpit features a far more efficient man-machine interface. A new on-board computer supports an expanded range of weapons options, as well as built-in growth potential for future radar, fire-control and electronic-warfare systems.
Aerostar already has considerable experience in MiG-29 overhaul and maintenance, and an airframe life extension program is part of the upgrade package. DaimlerChrysler has undertaken similar work on the former East German MiG-29s now operated by the Luftwaffe.