A Alemanha Ocidental primeiramente teve contato com o MiG-29 em 1988. Com a unificação das Alemanhas, as aeronaves foram transferidas para a Ala de Avaliação 29. Posteriormente, foi decidido integrar as aeronaves no sistema de defesa aérea da OTAN e o JG73 foi criado em junho de 1993.
Após anos de experiência nas mãos dos alemães, nada melhor do que eles para se pronunciarem sobre o aparelho. Em 1996 o “Obersleutnant” Johann Koeck, então comandante do esquadrão de MiG-29, deu declarações sobre as aeronaves utilizadas pela sua unidade. Seguem alguns techos.
“The employment of the MiG-29 suffers from severe inherent constraints. The most obvious limitation is the aircraft’s limited internal fuel capacity of 3500-kg (4400 kg with a centreline tank). We have no air-to-air refuelling capability, and our external tank is both speed and manoeuvre limited. We also have only a limited number of tanks.
But if we start a mission with 4400-kg of fuel, start-up, taxy and take off takes 400-kg,we need to allow 1000-kg for diversion to an alternate airfield 50-nm away, and 500-kg for the engagement, including one minute in afterburner. That leaves 2500-kg. If we need 15 minutes on station at 420 kts that requires another 1000-kg, leaving 1500-kg for transit. At FL200 (20,000 ft) that gives us a radius of 1 50-nm, and at FL100 (10,000 ft) we have a radius of only 100-nm.”
Navegação e Comunicação:
“Our navigation system is unreliable without TACAN updates and is not very accurate (I’d prefer to call it an estimation system). It relies on triangulation from three TACAN stations, and if you lose one, you effectively lose the system. We can only enter three fixed waypoints, which is inadequate. We also can’t display our ‘Bullseye’ (known navigation datum, selected randomly for security). For communications we have only oneVHF/UHF radio.”
“The radar is at least a generation behind the AN/APG-65, and is not line-repairable. If we have a radar problem, the aircraft goes back into the hangar. The radar has a poor display, giving poor situational awareness, and this is compunded by the cockpit face in tactical scenarios. We suffer from poor presentation of the radar information (which leads to poor situational awareness and dentification problems), short BVR weapons range, a bad navigation system and short onstation times.”
“But when all that is said and done, the MiG-29 is a superb fighter for close-in combat, even compared with aircraft like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18. This is due to the aircraft’s superb erodynamics and helmet mounted sight. Inside ten nautical miles I’m hard to defeat, and with the IRST, helmet sight and ‘Archer’ I can’t be beaten. Period. Even against the latest Block 50 F-16s the MiG-29 is virtually invulnerable in the closein scenario. On one occasion I remember theF-16s did score some kills eventually, but only after taking 18 ‘Archers’. We didn’t operate kill removal (forcing ‘killed’ aircraft to leave the fight) since they’d have got no training value, we killed them too quickly. (Just as we might seldom have got close-in if they used their AMRAAMs BVR!) They couldn’t believe it at the debrief, they got up and left the room!
“They might not like it, but with a 28°/sec instantaneous turn rate (compared to the Block 50 F-16C’s 26°) we can out-turn them. Our stable, manually controlled airplane can out-turn their FBW aircraft. But the real edge we have is the ‘Archer’ which can reliably lock on to targets 45° off-boresight.
Sobre as versões mais modernas:
“I should stress that I’m talking about our Luftwaffe MiG-29s, which are early aircraft. They also removed the Laszlo data link and the SRO IFF before the aircraft were handed over to us, so in some respects we’re less capable than other contemporary MiG-29s. From what we hear the latest variants are almost a different aircraft. I’d like to see our aircraft get some of the updates being offered by MiG-MAPO. The more powerful engines, better radar, a new navigation system, a data link and an inflight refuelling probe. If we got the new ‘Alamo-C that would also be an improvement – even a two nautical mile boost in range is still ten more seconds to shoot someone else! We won’t get many of those improvements, though we are getting a new IFF, manually selectable radio channels, and improvements to the navigation system, including the integration of GPS. Most of our aircraft will be able to carry two underwing fuel tanks, which will also help.”
NOTA DO BLOG: As aeronaves utilizadas pela Alemanha eram das primeiras versões do MiG-29 (conhecido no ocidente como Fulcrum-A). Estas aeronaves foram posteriromente atualizadas para o padrão MiG-29G e, anos depois, vendidas para a Polônia pelo preço simbólico de um euro.