From: U.S. DefenseImagery
Throughout its service, the MiG-29 was compared to the F-16 due to their similar roles in combat. The MiG-29 joined the fleet as the first Russian 4th-generation jet fighter, distinguished by its sleek and formidable appearance compared to earlier Soviet warbirds.
In battle, the “Fulcrum” was known for its speed and agility – able to outmaneuver any NATO fighter while wielding advanced missiles.
America even purchased 21 MiG-29s from Moldova in 1997 under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
The US aimed to procure the aircraft to prevent them from being sold to Iran while also providing US military forces with a working copy to see what it was truly capable of.
But with that said, the MiG-29 was far from perfect.
The 4th-generation fighter entered service with outdated electronics, offered a short service life, and only allowed a very limited range. Its combat range was so notoriously short that some people even call it the “Airport Defender”.
Still, the MiG-29 has seen several upgrades throughout its service life. Some of these enhancements included improved avionics, advanced radar systems, enhanced weapons capabilities, and increased range.
But perhaps its biggest “upgrade” came after the development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB.
Further development of these two variants resulted in the introduction of the MiG-35, which was first introduced in 2019 – 42 years after the MiG-29’s maiden flight.