The Mikoyan MiG-29 (Russian: ÌèÃ-29; NATO reporting name: "Fulcrum") is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. Developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s, the MiG-29, along with the larger Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter new American fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The MiG-29 entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983.
While originally oriented towards combat against any enemy aircraft, many MiG-29s have been furnished as multirole fighters capable of performing a number of different operations, and are commonly outfitted to use a range of air-to-surface armaments and precision munitions. The MiG-29 has been manufactured in several major variants, including the multirole Mikoyan MiG-29M and the navalised Mikoyan MiG-29K; the most advanced member of the family to date is the Mikoyan MiG-35. Later models frequently feature improved engines, glass cockpits with HOTAS-compatible flight controls, modern radar and IRST sensors, considerably increased fuel capacity; some aircraft have also been equipped for aerial refuelling.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a number of successor states have continued to operate the MiG-29; the largest of which is the Russian Air Force. The Russian Air Force wanted to upgrade its existing fleet to the modernised MiG-29SMT configuration, but financial difficulties have limited deliveries. The MiG-29 has also been a popular export aircraft; over 30 individual nations either operate or have previously operated the aircraft to date, India being one of the largest export operators of the type. As of 2013, the MiG-29 is in production by Mikoyan, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) since 2006.
Iraq received a number of MiG-29 fighters, and used MiG-29s to engage Iranian equivalent opponents during the later stages of the Iran-Iraq War.
MiG-29s also saw combat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War with the Iraqi Air Force. Five MiG-29s were shot down by USAF F-15s. Some Russian sources reported that at least one Panavia Tornado, ZA467, was shot down in northwestern Iraq by a MiG-29. UK sources claim this Tornado to have crashed on 22 January on a mission to Ar Rutbah.
Other Iraqi air-to-air kills are reported in Russian sources, where the US claims other cases of combat damage, such as a B-52 which the US claims was hit by friendly fire, when an AGM-88 High-speed, Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) homed on the fire-control radar of the B-52's tail gun; bomber was subsequently renamed "In HARM's Way".
Iraq's original fleet of 37 MiG-29s was reduced to 12 after the Gulf War. One MiG-29 was damaged, and four were evacuated to Iran. The remaining 12 aircraft were withdrawn from use in 1995 because the engines needed to be overhauled but Iraq could not send them off for that work.
After the American-led 2003 invasion of Iraq and disbandment of the Ba'athist Iraqi Army in May of the same year, the remaining Russian-made and Chinese-made fighters of Iraqi forces had been decommissioned, and to be replaced by recently ordered American-made F-16.