First Crash of Indian MiG-29UPG Jet, Pilot Safe

  • Aishwarya Rakesh
  • 07:45 AM, May 8, 2020
  • 5980
First Crash of Indian MiG-29UPG Jet, Pilot Safe
IAF MiG-29 fighter that crashed on Friday morning (image via Twitter)

A MiG-29 UPG fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed near Jalandhar airbase in Punjab state on Friday morning, making it the first ever accident involving the India-upgraded jet.

“On 08 May 20, at 1045h, one MiG-29 aircraft airborne on a training mission from an Air Force base near Jalandhar met with an accident,” the Indian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The aircraft had developed a technical snag and the pilot ejected safely as he was unable to control the aircraft. The pilot has been rescued by a helicopter.

A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of accident.

First Crash of Indian MiG-29UPG Jet, Pilot Safe
IAF MiG-29UPG combat jet

MiG-29UPG Fighter:

The IAF revealed the upgrade, called the MiG-29UPG, ahead of the Air Force Day celebrations in October 2018. It expanded the capabilities of Russia’s most exported military jet from an air superiority fighter to a multi-role jet.

The MiG-29UPG is capable of mid-air refuelling and is powered by an improved engine that enables the jet to take off almost vertically on full power.

Other features of the upgraded plane are a multi-functional display, air-to-air refueling and ability to launch precision guided munitions.

A significant part of the Indian upgrade is the radar. The aircraft’s outdated N-019 Topaz air-intercept radar, has been replaced with the Zhuk-ME unit with multimode capabilities and mechanically scanned, slotted antenna.

The jets will also be getting another potent radar upgrade:  Phazotron-NIIR's Zhuk-AME (also known as the FGA50 - AESA radar).  The Zhuk-AME radar is expected to give the MiG-29 capabilities of a 4.5 generation fighter jet similar to the F-16 Block 70.

The highlights of the MiG-29UPG upgrade are:

  • Able to deploy R-77RVV-AE (AA-12 'Adder') air-to-air missile.
  • Ability to use the advance subsonic anti-ship missile Kh-35E (AS-20 Kayak).
  • Introduced the OLS-UEM IRST sensor with the laser, thermal-imaging and television capabilities
  • increased the range by 40% to 2,100 km on internal fuel
  • The upgrade improve maintenance which helped reduced maintenance cost by as much as 40%.
  • Using the Indian licence manufacture of the new RD-33 series 3 turbofan engines
  • Introduction of new weapon control system
  • Improved cockpit ergonomics with enhanced HOTAS design, two large and two smaller monochrome LCD
  • Introduction of a retractable inflight refuelling probe, similar to Malaysian MIG-29N and Russian MIG-29SMT
  • Weapons load was increased to 4,500 kg on six underwing and one ventral hard points similar to the MIG-35
  • Secure datalink system
  • Life increased to another 15 years of use
  • Introduction of a bigger centreline tank from 1500 litres to 1800 litres tank extending range toward 3,000km


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