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.
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 The aircraft’s outdated N-019 Topaz air-intercept radar, has been replaced with the Zhuk-ME unit with multimode capabilities and mechanically scanned, slotted antenna.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: