More russian weapons sales after 1991

lancer21

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Really, i initially wanted to just focus on MiGs, but decided for a broader what-if so other interesting possibilities can be discussed.

Speaking of OKB MiG, they were doing badly in the nineties, and haven't really fully recovered since imo. One of the main reasons for that is Yeltsin's kow-towing to the americans which led to large contracts and potential sales being cancelled and tens of billions in revenue being lost, in case of MiG those 48 extra MiG-29 and 24 MiG-31 for Iran. Would that contract vastly improved MiGs situation, and could they have flown the MFI prototype in 1995 if they had the money from that sale? As it was, they had something like 100 unclaimed MiG-29 at the factories, it took them over a decade of sales in dribs and drabs to clear that lot.

Other possibilities are Syria and Libya, they would have very likely bought some MiGs if it wasn't for american/israeli pressure on Yeltsin. Syria could have bought those 24 MiG-35s (and the 36 Yak-130s) in the 2010s if Putin didn't declined due to american/ israeli pressure. Libya wanted something like a dozen or more MiG-29SMTs (plus some Su-30/35 and Yak-130) before the NATO attack.

Now obviously this happened because of yesterday's and todays's political machinations, namely US pressure not to sell to Iran, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, DPRK, Yugoslavia and perhaps others i can't think of now. But consider this: Russia sold weapons and technology to China in far greater quantities, and with far greater impact on the military balance ratio (China/US i mean) that could have possibly been the case of all the other countries i mentioned. Basically a few squadrons of MiGs to any of them would have hardly affected the military balance re the US or even their various regional affiliated countries (SK, Israel, KSA etc). So by that logic, it's bewildering that Russia bowed to US pressure, or even that the americans put said pressure on Russia, from their perspective it would have been better for Rusia to sell bits and pieces to the half dozen or so countries i mentioned ,at different ends of the world, than those huge sales and tech transfers to China (not that i have anything against China, just saying)!

I have skimmed various online documents re russian arms sales etc, and it seems there were many in the russian MIC and political estabilishment that were against bowing to US pressure, halting sales and losing billions in the process. So what if that pro-sale lobby was more powerful? Which other russian companies would have benefited, if say Tupolev sold some Tu-22Ms to China, India and even Iran as rumoured at various times, how would that impact Tupolev's fortunes? Sure the americans would have a hissy fit, but were they that scared of couple dozens of extra Tu-22Ms? USSR built something like 500 of them and there were hundreds of them facing NATO in 1990! At least it would have given the US an incentive to keep the F-14D and the AIM-54 in service for longer and upgrade it more, which i think some of you might like.
 

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Really, i initially wanted to just focus on MiGs, but decided for a broader what-if so other interesting possibilities can be discussed.

Speaking of OKB MiG, they were doing badly in the nineties, and haven't really fully recovered since imo. One of the main reasons for that is Yeltsin's kow-towing to the americans which led to large contracts and potential sales being cancelled and tens of billions in revenue being lost, in case of MiG those 48 extra MiG-29 and 24 MiG-31 for Iran. Would that contract vastly improved MiGs situation, and could they have flown the MFI prototype in 1995 if they had the money from that sale? As it was, they had something like 100 unclaimed MiG-29 at the factories, it took them over a decade of sales in dribs and drabs to clear that lot.

Other possibilities are Syria and Libya, they would have very likely bought some MiGs if it wasn't for american/israeli pressure on Yeltsin. Syria could have bought those 24 MiG-35s (and the 36 Yak-130s) in the 2010s if Putin didn't declined due to american/ israeli pressure. Libya wanted something like a dozen or more MiG-29SMTs (plus some Su-30/35 and Yak-130) before the NATO attack.

Now obviously this happened because of yesterday's and todays's political machinations, namely US pressure not to sell to Iran, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, DPRK, Yugoslavia and perhaps others i can't think of now. But consider this: Russia sold weapons and technology to China in far greater quantities, and with far greater impact on the military balance ratio (China/US i mean) that could have possibly been the case of all the other countries i mentioned. Basically a few squadrons of MiGs to any of them would have hardly affected the military balance re the US or even their various regional affiliated countries (SK, Israel, KSA etc). So by that logic, it's bewildering that Russia bowed to US pressure, or even that the americans put said pressure on Russia, from their perspective it would have been better for Rusia to sell bits and pieces to the half dozen or so countries i mentioned ,at different ends of the world, than those huge sales and tech transfers to China (not that i have anything against China, just saying)!

I have skimmed various online documents re russian arms sales etc, and it seems there were many in the russian MIC and political estabilishment that were against bowing to US pressure, halting sales and losing billions in the process. So what if that pro-sale lobby was more powerful? Which other russian companies would have benefited, if say Tupolev sold some Tu-22Ms to China, India and even Iran as rumoured at various times, how would that impact Tupolev's fortunes? Sure the americans would have a hissy fit, but were they that scared of couple dozens of extra Tu-22Ms? USSR built something like 500 of them and there were hundreds of them facing NATO in 1990! At least it would have given the US an incentive to keep the F-14D and the AIM-54 in service for longer and upgrade it more, which i think some of you might like.

The 500 Tu-22's facing NATO are far less dangerous to global security than 12 in Iran
 

CV12Hornet

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Ultimately, what put Sukhoi on a path to success was India shelling out the money for a mass order of the Su-30MKI, a true next-generation variant that Sukhoi leveraged to further sales (most Su-30 variants are based on the MKI) and also just plain made them a lot of money off of directly.

So why them instead of Mikoyan? Well, I suspect Sukhoi had a better marketing team. Sukhoi had also had more opportunity to put in design work towards advanced Flanker variants. But also, the Flanker fit the open niches in the international market better than the Fulcrum. The MiG-29, as a middleweight, was competing directly not only with the likes of the Mirage 2000, F-16, and F/A-18 (and later the Eurocanards and F-35) but also against the masses of older single-engine fighters. The Flanker, meanwhile, stood alone as the only heavyweight that could compete with the F-15 on the market, making it attractive for anyone not looking to align themselves with the United States. That's not to say the MiG-29 hasn't sold, but there hasn't been much interest in heavily upgraded variants and no big money-making orders to fund the upgrades themselves.

Your list of prospective customers kind of illustrates the problem: plenty of small orders, but ultimately that looks like only enough new sales to clear out the extra feedstock early. Syria and Libya sure as hell aren't going to be able to fund a next-gen Fulcrum. A lot, I think, depends on what kind of plane Iran wants.

Now, maybe these extra sales do get the MFI flying, but without a launch customer that plane is still dead on arrival. The Russians don't have the dosh; China would, but by the time the MFI is flying there's a rock fight ongoing between the two over the Su-27/J-11 sales; and India I don't think would be able to fund it on their own.
 

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Mig ruined their own reputation by selling poor build quality aircraft to Algeria. The base Mig-29 is a short legged point defense fighter, poorly suited for multirole use. Designed for the battlefield of Central Europe, the Russians and ex soviet states had far more then they needed after the fall of the Soviet Union, anyone who did want one could get one used cheap. Meanwhile Sukohi was making itself politically valuable selling flankers in Asia and being a great source of foreign currency. I think for the 90s to be nice to Mig, Mig-29m 9.15 needs to be in production by 1990. It was a much more promising multirole role aircraft then the base Mig-29 and further along in development then the Su-27m and Su-30 in the early 90s.
 

tomo pauk

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My take: people wanted either a cheap fighter, or a capable fighter. Su-27 fits the niche of the capable fighter. MiG-29 as a new fighter was not cheap, and it was not as capable as Su-27.
Unfortunately for the MiG, they opted to make 'Soviet F-18' instead of 'Soviet F-16' or 'Soviet Mirage 2000' in the 1970s. Or, even better, for 'Soviet F-20'.
 

Archibald

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I long have my pet "Soviet carriers wank, post 1991" scenario. Just because it is fun (I love aircraft carriers).

- North Korea get a Moskva or two (to tackle South Korea Dokdo !)

- India (not China) gets all three surviving Kiev / Minsk, and not as tourists amusement parks as per China (I know, India finally got one in the end, so why not the other two from China ? oh wait, they are ennemies...)

- Russia finish Varyag, along Kuznetsov (screw Liaoning, see below)

- Ullyanovsk by some miracle is at OTL Varyag level of completion, and thus the chinese get it. Through reverse engineering and with the blueprints they start building their own supercarrier fleet, nuclear or not (Forrestal to Enterprise to Nimitz to Ford progression across decades).

I know it is not realistic, make no mistake. It is rather an atempt at "rationalizing" post USSR existing helicopter / aircraft carriers fates.
Passing them to the "logical" countries by tweaking OTL last 30 years a bit.
 
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paralay

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The General Designer of the MiG company, Rostislav Belyakov, made the wrong choice during the August 1991 coup. He supported the GKCHP. Yeltsin did not forgive him for this.

mediapreview


In addition, during the tests of the MiG-29K on the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, the pilot mistakenly removed the landing gear right on the deck. This is one of the reasons for the rejection of the MiG-29K. At the same time, the MiG-29K almost twice exceeds the Su27K in combat effectiveness

0322-07-1-2.jpg


MiG-29SMT for Algeria, assembled from what they found in stock, but wanted to sell as new. Nevertheless, these aircraft are flying quite successfully in the Russian Air Force

224180.jpg
 
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F-2

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It’s a major shame the original Mig-29k 9.31 wasn’t built. I agree completely with the statement it was twice the plane as the SU-33.
 

lancer21

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Most interesting views re MiG and the sale of (or lack of) in the nineties and beyond. Note though that the whole algerian SMT scandal happened in 2007-2008, so the cynical me says that if they would have sold those languishing airframes to Iran, Syria, Libya etc. which perhaps wouldn't have been in the position to quibble and cancel the deal like Algeria did (they could afford it, they had the cash and were not limited in choosing on what to spend it, they chose to get more Su-30MKAs instead thankfully for Russia) then by the time of the algerian order they would have had to build brand new airframes, maybe brand new SMTs like Russia got, or even the latest MiG-35 standard that Syria was supposed to get, speaking of which, you might say it's just a land based K, but still had some new featured like the MAWS, so Syria must have paid at least some money for that, the contract was signed as far back as 2007.

Re the MiG-29 vs Su-27 capabilities, obviously the Su-27 family is more capable, since it was the hi in the hi-lo mix the soviets decided to adopt, but this would have left the MiG-29 family as the safer political sale to those countries the americans didn't like and were pressuring Russia not to sell to, so if the russians under Yeltsin stood their ground and not kow-towed like they did they could have still made some good billions and have MiG much better finacially by selling a somewhat more politically palatable machine to the countries i mentioned while offering some compromise to the americans.

But seeing what Paralay says, goes to show how much damage that bastard Yeltsin has done. Building 35 MiG-29Ks instead of the Su-33 would alone have greatly helped MiG, Sukhoi i think as doing well enough to not be much affected by the loss of the Su-33 order.

On the subject of MiG-31, is there any information as to how many airframes were left unclaimed or unfinished in the factory that could have been sold? Same question for the Tu-22M, i think i might have read about something like 10 airframes left unfinished?

As to the MFI yeah probably even if it flies in 1995 it will still not be adopted, but at least for aviation buffs like me would have been great to see it fly at some airshows like the S-37 did!
 

lancer21

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I long have my pet "Soviet carriers wank, post 1991" scenario. Just because it is fun (I love aircraft carriers).

- North Korea get a Moskva or two (to tackle South Korea Dokdo !)

- India (not China) gets all three surviving Kiev / Minsk, and not as tourists amusement parks as per China (I know, India finally got one in the end, so why not the other two from China ? oh wait, they are ennemies...)

- Russia finish Varyag, along Kuznetsov (screw Liaoning, see below)

- Ullyanovsk by some miracle is at OTL Varyag level of completion, and thus the chinese get it. Through reverse engineering and with the blueprints they start building their own supercarrier fleet, nuclear or not (Forrestal to Enterprise to Nimitz to Ford progression across decades).

I know it is not realistic, make no mistake. It is rather an atempt at "rationalizing" post USSR existing helicopter / aircraft carriers fates.
Passing them to the "logical" countries by tweaking OTL last 30 years a bit.
That's absolutely a pet peeve of mine too, i hate to see wasted warships, or planes for that matter, mistreated or rotting away, especially CVs. I like your timeline except i would want Novorossiysk saved too, it was only a few years old when scrapped. I see the Moskvas and the first one or two Kievs as probably too old to worth doing much with, but the other ones definitely must live!

Other examples of ships left to rot deserving a better fate are the fourth 1164 Slava that rotted in Ukraine, the third 11540 and the third 11661, and the only 12441 Novik, hundreds of millions gone down the drain. Not to mention the monumental scrapping of the bombers in Ukraine, all those new or almost new Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3s, what an incredible waste of more billions.
 

CV12Hornet

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On the subject of MiG-31, is there any information as to how many airframes were left unclaimed or unfinished in the factory that could have been sold? Same question for the Tu-22M, i think i might have read about something like 10 airframes left unfinished?
It appears that the MiG-31 production lots consisted of 349 MiG-31s from 1976-1988, 101 MiG-31Bs from 1989-1991, and 69 of I think MiG-31Bs (Wikipedia and Airvectors are in disagreement on what MiG-31 variants are called; frustratingly, while Airvectors seems to be more accurate on the variant numbers its Wikipedia that has the production numbers) from 1990-1994 that would presumably be your unfinished models. Unfortunately for your purposes, most of those machines, 50, were taken up by Kazakhstan after the fall of the USSR. There were also seven MiG-31M prototypes.

Exports were offered to Finland, China, and Syria. The Finnish tender ended up not being submitted, the China deal fell through if it ever existed, and the Syria deal was scuppered by either Israeli pressure or Syrian finances, depending on who you ask.

As far as unfinished Tu-22M airframes, I couldn't find any information on that.
 

lancer21

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I am relatively familiar with those MiG-31 numbers, although i think they must refer to the built and delivered airframes. Maybe Paralay could help us here regarding unfinished MiG-31 airframes left in the factory?

I got my MiG-31 book by Y Gordon and it says the Kazakhstan MiG-31s were actually inherited from a soviet unit that used to be based in the country. It also says Iran, China, Syria and Libya were interested at one point or the other, and i also read somewhere else Iraq was too before 1991.
 

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It is difficult to say how many unfinished MiG-31s remained in varying degrees of readiness when the Sokol aviation plant stopped in 1993. This is how the fuselage assembly shop looked like. There are 5 or 6 MiG-31B (type 12) and one MiG-31M (type 05). I think all these planes fly, except the MiG-31M. Two MiG-31M are in disassembled condition at the airfield of the plant. They are not painted, they can be seen on Google maps
Now this workshop has been repaired and fuselages are being prepared there for modernization. Recently it was shown on TV
 

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You also have the failed Su-27M/35/37 export attempts in the 90s in Brazil, UAE, and South Korea to consider as well, I think with these orders you could have potentially gotten it into serial production.
 

F-2

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You also have the failed Su-27M/35/37 export attempts in the 90s in Brazil, UAE, and South Korea to consider as well, I think with these orders you could have potentially gotten it into serial production.
Apparently China wanted to produce them like the J-11 but there was some kinda breakdown in the deal. It might have been the unlicensed J-11 production. It’s a shame, my fav flanker. I think it was a better aircraft then the MKK.
 

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That's absolutely a pet peeve of mine too, i hate to see wasted warships, or planes for that matter, mistreated or rotting away, especially CVs. I like your timeline except i would want Novorossiysk saved too, it was only a few years old when scrapped. I see the Moskvas and the first one or two Kievs as probably too old to worth doing much with, but the other ones definitely must live!
I have an entire "proto TL" related to carriers that start with France pulling a second Béarn out of the Normandie battleship hulls rotting after 1918.
Rinse, repeat in WWII with the Richelieu-class Jean Bart.
And then it becomes an "alt carrier-wank" with moar Magestic / Colossus, moar Independance-class, Saipan & Wright, and rebuilt Essex - for foreign navies.
 

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The Su-27M project remained without an engine. The maximum speed with the serial AL-31F did not exceed 1900 km/h. Therefore, the machine was not put into mass production
Paralay, do you know why the Su-27m was so speed limited with the old AL-31f but the SU-30mki which is a similar weight was not. Was the Al-31fm1 built in the 2000s the same design as what the Su-27m was supposed to get?
 

paralay

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The maximum speed of the Su-30 and its "parent" Su-27UB also does not exceed M = 2, that is, 2100 km / h. The maximum speed of the Su-27M is even lower, probably due to the nose of the smaller elongation. The radar antenna and cone have a larger diameter. This greatly affects the acceleration and deceleration of the aircraft
 

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F-2

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Thank you for that! I always wondered how the noses differed. T10m 710 was the Al-41f1 test bed, sadly the only M with the needed power plant.
 

lancer21

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The Su-27M project remained without an engine. The maximum speed with the serial AL-31F did not exceed 1900 km/h. Therefore, the machine was not put into mass production
Thanks for your input Paralay, so the Su-27M prototypes and the few series machine all used 12,500kgf AL-31F, and never got any uprated engines? I see various online sources saying the Su-27M had two AL-31FM engines rated at 12,800kgf which incidentaly it's the same rating as the engines of Su-27K that have the 12,800kgf contingency rating (which reduced life and reliability if used as i understand).

Incidentaly, maybe my memory is wrong but i think i saw somewhere a spec sheet saying that the Su-30MKI is limited to M 1,9. Hmm, since this is an ATL, i may digress a bit but wonder if it would have been wiser to focus on getting more power for the Su-30 family rather than TVC, the heavier and draggier Su-30MKI/SM especially could have used more power. Can't see the Su-35S and Su-57 being as awesome as they are without TVC though.
 
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F-2

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The Su-27M project remained without an engine. The maximum speed with the serial AL-31F did not exceed 1900 km/h. Therefore, the machine was not put into mass production
Thanks for your input Paralay, so the Su-27M prototypes and the few series machine all used 12,500kgf AL-31F, and never got any uprated engines? I see various online sources saying the Su-27M had two AL-31FM engines rated at 12,800kgf which incidentaly it's the same rating as the engines of Su-27K that have the 12,800kgf contingency rating (which reduced life and reliability if used as i understand).

Incidentaly, maybe my memory is wrong but i think i saw somewhere a spec sheet saying that the Su-30MKI is limited to M 1,9.
I’ve noticed a fair amount of incorrect information on the Su-27m. For example a lot of sources refer to it as having digital fly by wire system, yet only 711 and 712 do, the rest are analog. I think some of this info is plans for later batches.
 

lancer21

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That is true, although of course that is a record engine, with only a limited life at those power settings. Perhaps the 13,500kgf AL-31FM1 might just be enough to power the Su-27M if it was put in production, i suspect the FM1 development dragged on because of the bad situation in the nineties?

Getting back to MiG, that trainers of theirs, the MiG-AT could also bring them a little bit of income if allowed to sell to those countries i listed earlier, the iranian Yasin seems quite similar to MiG-AT, in this scenario they could just licence the MiG-AT in the late 1990s-early 2000s and be done with it. If of course Russia will stand up to american pressure.
 

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