One of the greatest combat aircraft of all time, development of the MiG-29 was initiated with the goal of creating a fighter with such exceptional performance, that any western examples would be severely outclassed. During the new interceptor’s first flight, it proved itself able to combat, if not outperform the F/A-18 Hornet and the equally legendary F-16 Fighting Falcon. Despite the fall of the USSR, MiG-29s saw no loss in export popularity to many countries in need of good fighters to replace outdated ones or compensate for the lack of pilot ability. Although MiG-29s in reality have never been very effective in air battles, that's mainly due to poor pilot ability, or as in Iraq's case, being greatly outnumbered in battle. The secret to the MiG-29's success was that it was highly maneuverable and allowed the pilot to use his skill and judgment in battle, a feature not found (or encouraged) in many earlier Soviet types.