Ready for the Fight

At MAKS 2017, the refurbished MiG-35 occupied a pride of place

A FORCE Report

MiG-35 is clearly the most venerable fighter aircraft in the Russian stable. This was the message delivered by Russia at the recently concluded MAKS air show. A MiG-35 was displayed prominently between the stands and not at the usual static display area. And officials were willing to talk about it, more so, if their names were not disclosed.

MiG-35a

After meeting the orders for the Russian Air Force, which are being finalised, MiG officials have pitched the aircraft for exports, notably to India and former Soviet states. The aircraft was demonstrated at the Bangalore 2017 Aero India show, and according to chief executive, Ilya Tarasenko, “we are in touch with the Indian Air Force (IAF) which has shown keen interest in the aircraft.”

Never mind that MiG-35 was one of the six contenders in the 2007 MMRCA competition which did not make it to the final list of two competitors: Rafale and Eurofighter. According to the officials, things are different today. At that time, the aircraft was just a demonstration. The official roll-out ceremony of MiG-35 held on January 27 in Lukhovitsy near Moscow, and attended by Indian representatives amongst others, was the definitive indication of the new avatar of Mig-29 as MiG-35. While having the old airframe but improved engine, the MiG-35 will have substantially improved manoeuvrability, range, sensors and weapon systems.

The MiG-35 will be available with the Phazotron-NIIP Zhuk-AE active electronic phase radar and the RD-33MK engine. The UAC President Yury Slyusar told FORCE that depending on the finances that India might want to spend, various cutting-edge technologies could be made available under the ‘Make in India’ programme.

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