MiG-29 Fulcrum With Viktor “Presing” Mirkovic
Viktor “Presing” Mirkovic is currently DCS/FC Air to Air Combat SA Rankings world #6 and a dedicated MiG-29 pilot from Serbia and the 104th Phoenix Squadron.
It’s a privilege to have you with us today Viktor, thank you for answering the invitation 😉
Q1 : First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, when have you started flying air combat simulators ? which ones have you already tried before Lock-On ?
A1. About myself, then we will break illusions about me :). Nothing much to tell. I’m am medical technician (nurse) and passionate mountain bike rider. I started playing games (simulations) with NOVA LOGIC MiG-29 FULCRUM 1998, then I played FLANKER 2.0 and little IL2, but I do not like propeller aircraft. After that it’s LOCK ON all the way!
Q2 : Now let’s talk a bit about your own story with the MiG-29…has it always been your favorite aircraft or is it more of a recent story…in one word, when and how did you fall in love with the Fulcrum ?
A2. Yes it was and it’s still. First time when I saw it (I think it was 1988) was on TV. MiG-29 is a great aircraft and still can rule the sky if it’s used properly.
Q3 : We all know how the MiG-29 is often evaluated in Lock-On in comparison to other fighters especially the F-15C. What do you think about such common belief ?
A3. Most of the people do not like to fly the Fulcrum because of his fuel consumption and small missile load but he has his advantages. Advantages such as active missiles, extreme speed in low level flight, EOS and data-link with AWACS and EWR. Personally I prefer more to fight against F-15 from Russian aircraft’s.
Q4: When on CAP missions, which radar mode and PRF (Pulse Radar Frequency) do you often use and why ? (RWS/TWS with HI/ILV/MED).
A4. I prefer TWS/HI but because of usage ECM most of the time I use RWS/HI. Why TWS is better it’s not only the aircraft vector on the HUD but it is also the position of the enemy aircraft’s in TWS mode you have better situational awareness.
Q5 : What is, according to you, the ideal altitude for a CAP sortie on a MiG-29? some pilots like to fly high, other prefer to go low and use terrain to hide, any comments about that ?
A5. It depends on the terrain your are fighting terrain over and if you have AWACS or EWR support. I fly between 4000m and 6000m. I like to have space for maneuvering and my missiles have greater range. I do not think flying low all the time is good idea because you do not have much options when you start fighting.
Q6 : What is your favorite payload on a MiG-29? and why?
A6. My favorite payload is: 1*R-27ER, 1*R-27ET, 2*R-77 and 2*R-73 and of course a FUEL-TANK Smile, but most of the time I use 1*R-27ER, 1*R-27ET, 4*R-77 + fuel-tank. I like diversity, you need semi-active missiles to help a friendly who have a bandit close to his tail and there is nothing better for entering close combat with pair of R-73, most of the time they will save you.
Q7 : Do you often use ECM(Electronic Counter Measures)? Is it a mandate on a Fulcrum considering the radar disadvantage in comparison to other fighters ?
A7. Rarely I use ECM. The radar on the MiG-29 is not that bad you can find fighters at a distance of 75 km, so it’s not that bad.
Q8 : Many talk about the fuel issue on a MiG-29. Is it safe to assume that the Fulcrum is unable to hold an airspace long enough because of that, or is there a way that would allow a better endurance as altitude or thrust management for instance ?
A8. Yes, the MiG can not stay long in the CAP and do fighting but he was not designed to do that. He is light (battle) frontal fighter stationed not more then 100 km to 150 km from front line. But if you do throttle management right you can stay more then one and a half hours in the air. Most of the pilots switch to Flankers because they cannot fly the MiG with out afterburner. Even when you fight with incoming missiles you have to do throttle management.
Q9 : At what distance do you often start locking up an air target ? is it from far away to intimidate a bandit, is it from very close range to surprise your opponent ?
A9. It depends if you are flying alone or you have a wingman. Also it depends if the enemy sees you or not. You do not want to engage bandit before 30 km and sometimes not before 20 km or 15 km.
Q10 : SPO-15 screaming out, missile inbound, first reflexes you tend to have? how can one use the RWR in combination with maneuvering/counter-measures to defeat an incoming missile ?
A10. Probably roll to the left and dive. You have to read the RWR and planing how to fight the missile. If you get too close to a bandit firing a missile you have to do maneuvers to fight the missile or to put yourself behind some hill. It’s all about timing you have to do that part perfectly: if you start your maneuver to early you will lose too much energy, and if you do it too late you are dead. My maneuver is to let the missile to get to full strength in RWR and pull up hard (and pray).
Q11 : Is it always wise to dodge a missile from close range? isn’t it safer to keep out of the missile’s NEZ (Non Escape Zone) especially when you’re equipped with R-77’s?
A11. It is safer and much more wise to defeat missile right a way before letting it get close. The best way is to not let the bandit shoot (deniy a shot) but if you cannot do that then you have to make that shot have low hit probability.
Q12 : In CiC (Close In Combat), which dogfight mode do you often use, and why ? (Helmet, vertical, Boresight).
A12. Helmet mode of course. Because of the freedom of movement you can lock and fire completely off-bore.
Q13 : Is is a mandate to jettison some of the payload prior to the merge on a MiG-29 ?
A13. Yes it is. The MiG flight model is probably the best simple flight model (SFM) in LOCK ON. The Su-27 and F-15 have much more maneuverability compared to real life. Don’t forget the MiG is still one of the best dogfighters in World, but in LOCK ON comparing to 27 and 15 it’s crap. But sometimes if you fight correctly you have chance.
Q14 : How can one choose between Angles/Energy tactic in a dogfight ? does it depend on the opponent’s machine, MP environment or even other factors ? If you could give us pros and cons of pulling/easing on the stick during a dogfight.
A14. It’s depends on both of them and also your current weight. Multi-player (MP) flying most of time you have jumpy cross-sheet. Whatever aircraft you fight against you do not want to lose speed and you have to finish quickly because the MiG-29 can not stay long in a dogfight. You can pull hard but make it sure when you pull hard you will hit the enemy. The MiG-29 will easily stall comparing to the Su-27 and F-15 so you can not pull hard very much, you have to try snap-shots (rather than tracking shots).
Q15 : last one, we could stay here asking questions forever, the topic is just huge so I will end up with the last question : Few comments on last OPFOR : your performance was pretty amazing, maybe sharing some tips would help others to see the Fulcrum differently 🙂
A15. I am amazing what can I say Very Happy. Was one of my best flights ever with a great wingman and great planner. Was nice to fight against one of the best squadrons on other side, 51st PVO, and to win the battle. I also had a lot of luck to kill Frostie after he killed Crunch and launched on me at very close range. I got on his 9 o’clock in the hill’s, when I was trying to hide and to run from the area, got a helmet lock on him and launched in 6 to 8 km. MiG-29 is a special aircraft and needs to be used differently from the Su-27 or F-15, but it will make you happy when you use it correctly.
Thanks Viktor for your time, I’ve had personally a blast interviewing you. I hope this will help many out there to become better MiG-29 drivers and have even more fun flying on the DCS/FC skies.
Thank you for the interview man it was my pleasure.
Please do not hesitate to extend the discussion further more, so if you have any questions that were not covered here, you can ask Viktor using the comments section below.
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