Zhuk-AM AESA radar test phase scheduled for early 2019

Russia`s Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29/35 multirole combat aircraft will be fitted with a new active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar that is being developed by Phazotron-NIIR enterprise, a subsidiary of Rostec`s Radio-electronic Technologies (KRET) corporation, a source from the country`s aerospace industry said.

Phazotron NIIR completing Zhuk AM AESA radar development 001 A scale model of Phazotron-NIIR Zhuk-AM AESA radar at the MAKS 2017 airshow

"Phazotron-NIIR is finishing the manufacturing of the first AESA radar for the MiG-29. We are finishing the assembling of the unit. It will be delivered to the RSK MiG Corporation [a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation] that will integrate it onto a specially prepared fighter jet. The tests of the radar are scheduled for early 2019," said the source.

A number of domestic and foreign operators of the MiG-29-family multirole combat aircraft are planning to fit these air platforms with the AESA radar. "Several foreign users of the Fulcrum are planning to integrate the radar onto their fighters, while the Russian Aerospace Forces [Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily, VKS] intend to fit it with the MiG-35. Once the unit has passed through its trials, the program will secure funds and a contract. The whole process is planned to be finished in two years - we will manufacture four radars, integrated them onto fighters and conduct tests," said the source. According to him, a foreign operator of the MiG-29 may be the launch customer for the new radar.

The AESA radar will dramatically increase the combat performance of the MiG-29/35. "The organic [MiG-29`s] radar has a time before failure [TBF] of some 150-200 flight hours, while the AESA unit features a TBF rate of no less than 500-600 hours," said the source.

The new AESA radar is called Zhuk-AME or FGA50, he added. "An export-oriented prototype of the Zhuk-AME was unveiled two years ago, at the Airshow China 2016 exhibition," said the source.

The radar detects aerial targets at a distance of some 160 km and can simultaneously track up to 30 targets. "The Zhuk-AME allows simultaneous engagement of six aerial and four ground targets," said the source.

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