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Aviacion Cubana

The MiG-29 Fulcrum in Cuba

Rubén Urribarres


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FAR This is the first 4th generation soviet fighter. Begins to be projected in 1972 to fight
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the new generation of American fighters F-15, F-16 and F-18. First flight performed October 6, 1977 by the pilot A. Fedotov, and were built some 1,500 aircrafts in 1978-1991. 

Was adopted by the Soviet VVS in 1984. Today Russia has some 500 MiG-29 and was exported to 13 countries.  Fought in some conflicts like Afghanistan (1988), Iran-Iraq (1988, 2 victories), the Gulf War (1991, 5 lost), Moldova (1992, 4 victories and 4 lost), Cuba (1996, 2 victories), Etiopia-Somalia (1997, 4 lost), Yugoslavia (1999, 2 victories and 5 lost), and diverse conflicts in the ex-USSR (1 victory).

At present the MiG-29 are the most agile fighter of the world, between the series built fighters, not superable by its maneuverable in close combats. 
MiG-29 N°11 en San Antonio . Foto del Air & Space Power Journal
At left: The MiG-29 N°11 in the San Antonio AB. Picture from Air & Space Power Journal










.The MiG-29 in Cuba


Like declare Raúl Castro (Minister of the FAR) in 1993 to the Mexican newspaper "El Sol de Mexico", Cuba must to receive 40 fighters MiG-29 for a complete Regiment, but  receive only one Squadron. These are the most  expensive and sophisticated aircraft received by the FAR, keeping in mind that to the prices of the exchange with the Soviet Union, the MiG-21 were valued in US $1,5 million, the MiG-23 in $ 3-5 million, and the MiG-29 already $ 18-20 million. As result of the economics problems of the USSR, the FAR receive only 12 MiG-29 (series 9-12B) Fulcrum A and two two-seats MiG-29UB (series 9-51) Fulcrum B. These arrived in October of 1989 and after be are assembled, they begin the test flights on April 19, 1990. The first exercise of the FAR's MiG-29 is performed in May of 1990, the exercises "Cuban Shield"

MiG-29 Fulcrum in San Antonio besides the MiG-23 and MiG-21bis
Three MiG-29 Fulcrum in the San Antonio AB, Havana, besides the MiG-23MF and MiG-21bis (Photo from Air Power & Space Journal)

Castro ask about the MiG-29 in 1985, when Mijail Gorbachov arrive to the power. But Gorbachov begins its politica of approach to US, and brakes the asked. Castro begins to investigate with the Russians the cause of the delay, and after various months of silence, the Russians respond throught their Ambassador A. Kapto. He told Castro, that their government affirms that the MiG-29 can mot be delivered, because this fighter are not produced yet, they are testing it. Castro hears the explication, several times sight to the Ambassador ironically, and says that although the answer arrives late, and is negative, but at least it was a reply of some kind. The next day a FAR General in an meet with the Ambassador asks him, if the Ambassador saw an report of the American TV, where were show the MiG-29 produced in series and flying in several soviets units, and visiting other countries.  Kapto understood what Castro was insinuating, and Kapto transmitted this to Moscow with urgency.  Because of this the USSR began the deliveries of MiG-29, although by the disintegration of the Soviet Union Cuba never receive all planned aircrafts. 
 
MiG-29 in 1999
Left: MiG-29 during exercises in 1999. Right: The Fidel and Raúl Castro brothers. Fidel ask the Soviet Ambassador about the MiG-29
The Fidel and Raul Castro brothers. Fidel ask the soviet embassador for the MiG-29


The shoot down of the HR´s Cessna-337


On February 24, 1996 are shoot down for the Cuban MiGs two airplanes Cessna-337 of the exiled organization Brothers to the Rescue. Participate in the operation two fighters: a MiG-29UB and a MiG-23UM. The loss of MiGs fighters that attempting to maneuver with slower planes (like the MiG-21PFMA crashed in 1982 over the sea when pursuing narco planes), showed that a slow and maneuverable plane like the Cessna-337 of Brothers to the Rescue, is a very difficult target for a fast jet fighter as the MiG-21 or MiG-23.  On the other hand, the MiG-29 (as the Su-27) is very maneuverable and can "yank and bank" very well at slower speeds. This was demonstrated in exercises of Cuban MiG-29 against Cuban little Polish-built PZL-104 Wilga planes. 
 
MiG-29UB N 900 take off
Cessna-337 of Hermanos al Rescate
The aircrafts of the incident: MiG-29UB of the FAR and Cessna-337 of Hermanos al Rescate

The MiG-23UB stayed high and served served as a radio relay between ground radar controllers and the MiG-29UBs to help vector them to the BR´s Cessnas. Lt. Col. Lorenzo Alberto Pérez Pérez (in conjunction with other crewmembers) was the pilot of the MiG-29UB FAR-900 that shot down the two Cessna 337s, using R-60MK missiles. All the four Cuban Pilots having a plenty of flight time and Combat missions in Africa. This operation was not planificated, but was sucessful. 
 
The leutenant colonel Alberto Pérez Pérez, the MiG-29UB Fulcrum pilot that shoot down the both Cessna-337 aircrafts (the thirth from left to right), beside, her brother Francisco Pérez Pérez, the MiG-23UB Flogger pilot. Behind him, the MiG-29 of San Antonio, 1996
The MiGs pilots that shoot down the Cessnas

After this incident, the Pentagon propose to President William Clinton to bombing the MiG-29 Base of San Antonio. But he desist, by the conclusion that these were in strong refuge and well defended by SAMs. 

The MiG-29 today


The MiG-29 are the last combat aircraft received by the FAR, and are the best fighter in Latin America in close combat. All the 14 Cuban MiG-29 served in the 231th Squadron of the 23° Regimiento de Caza (Fighter Regiment) basified in San Antonio de los Baños. Its pilots belong to the group of FAR pilots that follow with the normal time flight volume, doing in their MiG-29 from 100 to 200 annual hours (the pilots of other equipment have very reduced the time of flight in fighters, and they complete their hours flying in transport airplanes). Russia continued the collaboration with parts, and the MiG-29 participate in different exercises and events each year, as the air demostration before the military delegation of China of the Colonel General Yuan Shoufang in August of the 2001. 
 
MiG-29 in an hangar of San Antonio
Left: MiG-29 in the hangars of the San Antonio AB. Right: the MiG-29 in the exercises "Cuban Shield", May of 1990Durinf exercises in 1990
Take off from San Antonio to the exercises

 
During 1992 exercises
Technicians prepared a MiG-29UB
The mother with the son pilot of MiG-29
One MiG-29 overflight an MiG-23
Ready to take off with the MiG-29
The MiG-29 N° 910 during exercises in 1992
The technicians  prepare an MiG-29UB
The mother of  an MiG-29 pilot congratulate her son after an exercise
Behind the tail of an MiG-23 fly one  MiG-29
Ready to the takeoff, San Antonio, 1992

 
MiG-29 profiles
MiG-29 profiles
Left: MiG-29 profiles

Right: The MiG-29 by the firm Albatros

MiG-29  by the Albatros firm

MiG-29 Fulcrum versions in Cuba


MiG-29 Fulcrum A. Product 9-12B. Export version of the basic fighter, built since 1986 in Moscow. Optical -feedback system OEPrNK-29 of navigation and collimation, that includes a visor Shel-3UM in the pilot helmet, optical -laser station KOLS, and other systems.MiG-29 Fulcrum A
MiG-29UB Fulcrum B. Product 9-51. Two seat training version. First flight in April 29,1981, built since 1982. Fuselage 100 mm longer. Without radar, but with the IRST/helmet vision system. Less fuel.MiG-29UB Fulcrum B

Characteristics of the MiG-29 (9-12B) Fulcrum A
Year.................................................1977
Lenght, m..........................................17,32
Wingspan, m.....................................11,36
Height, m............................................4,73
Wing area, m....................................38,00
Weights
Empty weight, kg.............................10,900
Normal takeoff weight, kg................15,240
Max takeoff weight, kg....................18,100
Internal fuel, kg.................................3,200 (4,650 l)
External fuel, kg................................1,250 (1 fuel tank of 1500 litres)
Combat load, kg...............................2,000
Engines.....................................2 x Klimov RD-33
Dry thrust, kg...................................5,050
After burning thrust, kg.....................8,320
Radar.........................................N-019E "Rubin"
Radar range, km......70 (fighter), 150 (bomber), track 10 objectives, and assures the shoot of a R-27 missil against the most dangerous of theirs, work angles +60°/-38° in vertical, +-67° in horizontal
Performances
Max speed at level 11,000m, km/h...............2,445
Max speed at sea level, km/h........................1,500
Range, km...................................................1,500
Max range with three fuel tanks, km..............2,100
Radius at low level withouth tank, km...............700
Radius with tank at hight level, km.................2,100
Ceiling, m...................................................18,000 
Climb, m/s......................................................330 
G...............................................+9 bajo Mach 0.85 and +7 over Mach 0.85, / -3
Landing, m..............................................250-600 
Take off, m..............................................600-750 
Armament
Gun GSh-301 x 30mm with 150 rounds. 
Missiles: 6 points for 6 close range missiles R-60M (AA-8 Aphid), or 4 x R-60M and 2 medium range R-27R/T (AA-10 Alamo) semi-active guided by radar or infrared, 4 blocs B-8 with 80 non guided rockets S-8  x 80mm, 4 rockets S-24B x 240mm, 4 bombs of 250-500kg and others


  See also:
Cuban MiG-15
Cuban MiG-17
Cuban MiG-19
Cuban MiG-21
Cuban MiG-21 in action
Operación Pico: Cuban MiG-21 over Dominican Republic
Cuban MiG-17 and MiG-21 in the Ogaden War (Ethiopia)
Cuban MiG-23
Cuban MiG-23 in action (air-to-ground missions in Angola)
Cuban MiG-23 in action (air-to-air missions in Angola)
Cuban MiG-29

  External Links:
Cuban Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum
Cuban MiGs
Cuban Military Forum
The MiG-29 Fighter
Cuban MiG-23 over Venezuela
Cuba in Africa, The Angola War

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