The introduction in the mid-1970s of the USAF F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon put the then Eastern block fighter pilots at a distinct disadvantage. The deployment of the Su-27 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum in the mid-1980s leveled the playing field. Designed as a high performance fighter with a fly-by-wire control system, and the ability to carry up to 10 AAMs, the highly maneuverable Su-27 is one of the most imposing fighters ever built.
The MiG-29 is superficially similar in layout to the larger Su-27, and unlike counterpart American fighters which are easily distinguished, a close attention to design details is needed to distinguish the two Russian fighters:
- The most striking difference is the Su-27’s signature center line fuselage stinger, which protrudes well aft of the engine exhaust, and is entirely absent on the MiG-29, though this feature may not be apparent from all angles.
- The vertical stabilizers on the MiG-29 are canted outward, while those of the Su-27 are vertical.
- Conversely, the air intakes on the MiG-29 are canted inward, while the air intakes on the Su-27 are vertical.
- The Mig-29 fuselage sits entirely above the air intakes, engine pods and exhaust beneath the wings, whereas on the Su-27 there is a distinct droop of the forward fuselage below the upper edges of the air intakes.
The Su-27 and the MiG-29 were both put forward to meet the same design specification set forward by the Russian or better to say Soviet leaders.
However the requirements set forward was so different that non of the planes that were proposed could meet all the demands. And so the MiG company suggested that instead of just building one fighter that could not meet all the demands, they should build two different planes that together could meet most if not all the demands.
This was accepted by the Russian / Soviet leaders, and therefore both the Su-27 and MiG-29 was build.
Both can load similar type of missiles, but Su-27 can load much much more. Missile are the same , only versions are different: R-27, R-60 (only Fulcrum), and R-73. Gun is the same type GSh-301. Details in table below