Undoubtedly, the delivery by the Syrian Arab news agency SANA on May 30, 2020 of the delivery to the combat units of the Syrian Air Force of a consignment of deeply improved multi-functional fighters of the MiG-29 family marked a turning point in the development of a promising component of the rapidly aging Syrian Air Force fleet. This is not surprising, because until recently the air force fleet of our key Middle Eastern ally was represented only by a limited number of combat-ready 3rd generation fighter-bombers MiG-23ML / D, fighter-bombers Su-22M3 / 4, front-line bombers Su-24M, equipped with outdated airborne optoelectronic sighting systems, Sapphire-23 airborne radars based on the Cassegrain and Orion-A antennas based on parabolic antenna arrays with extremely low noise immunity of the receiving paths, respectively (in relation to the Su-24 and MiG-23MLD), as well as The "ancient" display equipment of the cockpits, not to mention the lack of modern terminals for the exchange of information on tactical air and surface conditions on the theater of defense through secure radio channels.
And despite the fact that the number of “twenty-nine” packages of military-technical assistance provided to Damascus as part of the “package” of military assistance provided to Damascus, unfortunately, cannot guarantee the Syrian Air Force to confidently maintain air supremacy in probable air battles with dozens of F- multirole fighters The 16C / D Block 50/52 of the Turkish Air Force, as well as the F-16I Sufa Hel Haavir (Israel Air Force), even a pair of units of the upgraded multi-role fighters of the 4+ generation MiG-29SMT or MiG-29M2 are quite capable of effectively patrolling the most problematic and missile-hazardous southwestern air direction of the ATS.
A distinctive feature of this air direction is the presence of Antilivan mountain ranges, allowing the Israeli multi-functional fighters F-16I Sufa and F-15I Ra`am to penetrate into Syrian airspace almost unhindered while enveloping the terrain (hiding from the radiation patterns of 9C18M2 radar detectors “Dome” and 9C36 illumination radars of Buk-M2E military air defense systems of Syrian air defense forces), and then secretly go to the lines of launching stealth tactical missiles “Delilah-AL” and planning UAB GBU-39 / B for fortified areas of the Syrian army, strategically important military -industrial facilities and strongholds of the elite Iranian unit of the Al-Quds IRGC.
So, for example, even one link out of four MiG-29SMT / M2 equipped with information exchange terminals on the tactical air situation of the APD-518 of the K-DlAE family as applied to the MiG-29SMT and E502-20 “Turquoise” as applied to the MiG-29M2, respectively ( provide target designation from AWACS A-50U aircraft over secure radio channels in the frequency range from 0,96 to 1,215 GHz with further loading of target coordinates into the fighter’s weapon control system), as well as advanced weapon control systems SUV-29M / 2 with hardware and software adaptation to the use of highly maneuverable medium-range air-launched missiles, the RVV-AE (R-77), is quite capable of displacing the link of Israeli F-16Is flying to the raid from the "blind" / invisible zones of Antilivan. Moreover, the key help for the Syrian MiG-29SMT / M2 pilots in a duel battle with Israeli cars will be not only the K-DlAE and Biryuza asynchronous two-way data exchange terminals for receiving target designation from AWACS aircraft, but also noise-protected multi-spectral optical-electronic - OEPrNK-29M (OLS-M) and OLS-UEM navigation systems capable of detecting infrared radiation from the flares of the Pratt & Whitney F-100-PW-229 jet engines of Israeli F-16I at a distance of 65-80 km to the rear hemisphere and 30–35 km to the front hemisphere.
Meanwhile, in the Western European and American media spaces, information about the arrival of the updated MiG-29 in the Syrian Air Force combat units has traditionally been met by a number of speculations regarding the ability of these vehicles to conduct long-range air battles and mid-range air battles with the Israeli F-16I and inconspicuous F-35I “Adir ", Which have significantly more noise immunity and 1,5-2 times more" farsighted "airborne AFAR radars AN / APG-80 and AN / APG-81, respectively, more advanced airborne defense systems based on high-energy electronic warfare stations SPJ-40" Elisra ”(installed on the F-16I), as well as the anti-jamming systems AN / ASQ-239“ Barracuda ”and the groups of transceiver modules AN / APG-81 of the F-35I fighters adapted for operation in EW mode.
In particular, according to British military expert Justin Bronk, voiced in a brief analytical note for the Forbes publication, even integration into the ammunition of the updated Syrian MiG-29 of the modern R-77 air defense missile system will not allow these vehicles to stop Israeli raids aviation in the position of CAA and its friendly units in the provinces of Damascus, Homs and Tartus, which will be caused by less perfect airborne radars and airborne defense systems of the MiG-29SMT and MiG-29M2 fighters. How objective is this conclusion?
The delivery of the upgraded MiG-29SMT / M2 to the combat units of the Syrian air force may become problem No. 1 for Hel Haavir flight crew
Indeed, the MiG-29SMT and MiG-29M2 multipurpose fighters have far from the most advanced airborne radars N019MP and Zhuk-M based on slot-waveguide antenna arrays that do not have the ability to form radiation pattern gaps in the direction of radiation sources of electronic interference, and it means that they are unable to neutralize the interference from the EJ stations SPJ-40 “Elisra” of F-16I fighters and “jamming arrays” integrated into the APG-81 radars of the 5th generation F-35I “Adir” fighters. Meanwhile, Mr. Bronk did not take into account several extremely important details.
He never mentioned the presence of MiG-29SMT / M2 fighters in the elemental base of the avionics base of the above-described network-centric K-DlAE and E502-20 Turquoise tactical information exchange terminals, through which Syrian MiG pilots can receive target designation for Israeli fighters from "air fighters radar "A-50U VKS of Russia, and then launch missiles R-77 without the need to use radar N019MP or" Zhuk-M ".
Secondly, the SUV-29M / 2 weapon control systems in general and the N019MP / Zhuk-M radars in particular, like the AN / APG-68 (V) 1-9 American airborne radars, boast passive HOJ mode (“Home-On-Jam” - guidance on interference), which consists in pointing the electronic radiation source to the radiation source, in our case, Elisra electronic warfare systems and APG-81 radars operating in the electronic warfare mode.
As for the ammunition of the MiG-29SMT / M2 fighters, the open architecture of the element base of their avionics provides the ability to integrate not only the early version of the R-77 URVB with an effective range of 55-80 km when launched from medium and high altitudes, respectively, but also more advanced RVV-SD medium / long-range missile propulsion system (“Product 170-1”) with a range of 110 km (when intercepting the enemy’s air attack means in the front hemisphere) when launching from heights of more than 8-10 km. In this parameter, the RVV-SD are comparable to the most popular American air-to-air missiles AIM-120C-7 in the Israeli Air Force and are noticeably (more than 2 times) superior to the Israeli Derby air defense missiles. What is even more remarkable, in addition to the standard active semi-active radar GSN 9B-1103M-200PA, RVV-SD missiles can be equipped with an active-passive modification of the 9G-1103M-200PS RSGN with an additional passive guidance channel to the source of electronic interference in the HOJ mode.
During the implementation of this mode, the GSN 9B-1103M-200PS slot antenna array can provide passive guidance to the Elisra REB emitting station up to the approachable segment of the terminal portion of the trajectory (3-5 km) without revealing its location for radiation warning stations / electronic intelligence SPS-3000, also installed on fighters F-16I "Sufa". The active guidance mode can be implemented in the immediate vicinity of the intercepted F-16I, leaving the pilot a minimum “window” of time for performing an anti-ballistic maneuver. The presence of the MIL-STD-29B multiplex data bus in the MiG-2SMT / M1553 radio-electronic “stuffing” allows integration of the REB MSP-418K small-sized container complexes operating in the GJ-frequency ranges of centimeter waves and capable of breaking with high probability “capture” mode of carrier aircraft by active radar seeker of AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles.