|A MIG-35D of the Russian Air Force|
|First flight||7 February 2007|
|Status||Final flight testing/pre-series production|
|Primary user||Russian Aerospace Forces|
|Number built||2 pre-production aircraft and at least 3 prototypes|
|Developed from||Mikoyan MiG-29M|
The Mikoyan MiG-35 (Russian: Микоян МиГ-35; NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) is a Russian multirole fighter that is designed by Mikoyan, a division of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Marketed as a 4++ generation jet fighter, it is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters. The first prototype was a modification of the aircraft that previously served as a MiG-29M2 model demonstrator. Mikoyan first officially presented the MiG-35 internationally during the 2007 Aero India air show.
The single-seat version is designated MiG-35 and the two-seat version MiG-35D. The fighter has vastly improved avionics and weapon systems, notably new precision-guided targeting capability and the uniquely designed optical locator system, relieves the aircraft from relying on ground-controlled interception systems and enables it to conduct independent multirole missions. There is also an optional AESA radar.
There were references in the late 1980s to a very different design also identified as "MiG-35". This design was a single-engined combat aircraft for air-to-air and secondary air-to-ground roles. According to unidentified Indian sources, the aircraft was evaluated by Indian pilots in the Soviet Union and was probably suggested as an alternative for the Indian LCA being developed at that time.
Russia unveiled the MiG-35 at the 2007 Aero India air show in Bangalore, amid Moscow's keenness to sell these planes to India. The MiG-35 was a contender with the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon in the Indian MRCA competition for 126 multirole combat aircraft to be procured by the Indian Air Force. During the competition however, India's Ministry of Defense was frustrated with the problems of the aircraft's avionics: the radar could not achieve the maximum targeting distance during the tests and the RD-33MK engines were not shown to reach sufficient thrust. As a result, the MiG-35 was ousted from the contest in April 2011.
In May 2013, it was reported that the Russia intends to order 37 aircraft. However, in August 2013, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the purchase worth 37 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) will be delayed until 2016 due to the spending cuts in the state arms program for 2014–2016.
In August 2015, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, commander of Russia's Air and Space Forces stated that MiG-35 development is to be completed in 2017; entry into service is to follow in 2018. The state tests of the MiG-35 was to begin in 2017 with completion in mid-2018 after the serial production of the aircraft would started. According to the Viktor Bondarev, Russian Aerospace Forces plans to replace its whole fleet of light fighters with the MiG-35s and thus there is a need for at least 170 of such aircraft.
In July 2017, during the MAKS 2017 International Aviation and Space Salon, the Russian Defence Ministry agreed it will buy 24 MiG-35s as a part of the new state armament program for 2018–2027, although 37 aircraft were previously planned. Six out of the 24 MiG-35s will replace the aging MiG-29s of the Russian aerobatic team Swifts.
On 22 August 2018, during the International Military-Technical Forum «ARMY-2018», the first contract for 6 MiG-35s was signed. The Russian Aerospace Forces plans to sign a second contract for delivery of 14 MiG-35s in 2020.
Initial flight testing
By April 2010, pictures and additional information surfaced of two new MiG-35 demonstrators, the single-seat MiG-35 "961" and the two-seat MiG-35D "967". According to Russian media, they first flew in autumn of 2009, and subsequently took part in MMRCA trials in India in October 2009. Both have a very high commonality with the previous MiG-29K/KUB airframes, an immediate visible difference being the braking parachute installed in place of the hook, present on the naval aircraft. Subsequently, the MiG-35D "967" appears to have been equipped with a similar AESA radar as fitted to the older MiG-35 demonstrator "154", identifiable by the dark grey short nose radome. On 6 September 2016, according to the general designer of the United Aircraft Corporation Sergei Korotkov, two MiG-35s were to be delivered in November 2016 to the Russian Air Force for flight testing to confirm the technical characteristics of the aircraft.
On 28 January 2017, MiG officially demonstrated the new MiG-35 to the Russian government, followed by subsequent demonstration for export customers on the next day. However, the newly presented MiG-35 showed to be a bit different with the one unveiled in 2007. The new MiG-35 allegedly lacked the AESA radar as well as thrust vectoring control, supposedly to keep procurement cost low to attract foreign customer. In July 2017, Ilya Tarasenko, the director general of the MiG, told the press: "We are now testing, and after the results will begin mass production. Serial production will begin within the next two years."
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The MiG-35/MiG-35D incorporate advancements of the MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 fighters in combat efficiency enhancement, universality and operational characteristics improvement. The main features of the new design are the fifth-generation information-sighting systems, compatibility with Russian and foreign weapons applications and an integrated variety of defensive systems to increase combat survivability. The new overall design overtakes the design concepts of the baseline model and enables the new aircraft to conduct full-scale multirole missions as their western counterparts.
New avionics are intended to help the MiG-35 gain air superiority as well as to perform all-weather precision ground strikes, aerial reconnaissance with opto-electronic and radar equipment and to conduct complex joint missions. This includes the Phazotron Zhuk-AE active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the RD-33MK engines and the newly designed optical locator system, OLS-35. The number of weapon stations has increased to 10, flight range has increased by 50%, and radar visibility has been reduced.
The MiG-35 is powered by two FADEC RD-33MK Morskaya Osa (Russian: Морская Оса, literally: "Sea Wasp" or Chironex fleckeri) turbofans. The RD-33MK a highly improved variant and the latest version of the Klimov RD-33 turbofan and was intended to power the MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB. It has 7% more power compared to the baseline model due to the use of modern materials in the cooled blades, providing a higher thrust of 9,000 kgf. In response to earlier criticism, the new engines are smokeless and include systems that reduce infrared and optical visibility. The engines may be fitted with thrust vectoring nozzles, which would result in an increase in combat efficiency by 12% to 15%, according to manufacturer claims.
The RD-33OVT engine variant comes with thrust vectoring nozzles, and can direct thrust in two axis. As of 2012, the only in-service, in-production fighter jet using this technology is the Sukhoi Su-35. Other current thrust-vectoring aircraft, such as the Sukhoi Su-30 and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, have nozzles with thrust vectoring in one axis. Thrust vectoring capabilities enable to use highways or grass strips for landing and takeoff instead of need to rely on traditionally-prepared asphalt runways.
In January 2017, during a conference call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yuri Slyusar, president of the UAC, reported that the MiG-35 could possibly use a kind of laser weaponry in the future. Military trials of the laser are to proceed immediately after flight testing of the aircraft. However, there was doubt if Slyusar made a mistake by saying laser weaponry instead of laser-guided weapon. The MiG-35 is also planned to be capable of launching the Kh-36 Grom-1 cruise missile, giving it a long-range strike capability that the MiG-29 does not possess.
The MiG-35 has a glass cockpit equipped with night-vision goggles, an additional display for the optical locator system, and a 3-equal size color LCD multi-function display. The second seat-version of the MiG-35, the MiG-35D, has 4 LCD displays in its rear cockpit. The MiG-35D uses a tandem cockpit while single-seat versions of the MiG-35 uses the rear cockpit to store extra fuel, while retaining a two-seat canopy.
The MiG-35 is equipped with the new Phazotron Zhuk-A/AE active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the first radar of this kind installed on a Russian fighter aircraft. The Phazotron Zhuk-A/AE AESA radar offers a wider range of operating frequencies, providing better resistance to electronic countermeasures (ECM)s, extended detection range and more air and ground targets detected. The FGA-35 radar type, featured 688 mm antenna and 1016 T/R modules (originally planned 1064) with initial stage performance of a 200 km detection range for 3m2 RCS target. Later detection range was raised up to 250 km. It can track up to 30 targets at any time, engaging up to 6 air targets at once, or 4 ground targets at once.
For detection of targets in the infrared spectrum, the MiG-35 is equipped with the OLS-UEM (13SM-1) electro-optical targeting station with lookdown capability against ground, sea and air targets. Its forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor is capable to detect airborne threats up to 55 km and provides coverage in azimuth of +/- 90-degree and +60-degree to −15-degree in elevation. The OLS-UEM consists of:
- Infra-red search and track sensor
- TV camera with infrared search and track capability
- Multimode laser rangefinder with detection range up to 20 km
There is also the OLS-K/OLS-KE podded electro-optical targeting system mounted under the right engine nacelle. It is designed to search, detect and track ground and sea targets. The system consists of infrared sensor and TV camera and is capable to detect ground targets up to 20 km and sea targets up to 40 km.
To protect the aircraft against current and future surface-to-air (SAM) missiles, the MSP-418KE compact active jammer pod can be mounted on any of the aircraft nine hardpoints.
In 2014, Egypt planned to sign a large arms deal with Russia for the purchase of 24 MiG-35 fighter jets. In February 2015, MiG Director General Sergei Korotkov announced that the company was ready to supply the MiG-35 jets to Egypt should the country request them. However, in April 2015, Egypt signed a $2 billion contract for the purchase of 46 MiG-29M/M2 multi-role fighters instead.
Initially, Russia intended to place an order for 37 MiG-35s in 2013, however the number was reduced to 24 when an agreement was reached between the Russian Defence Ministry and the MiG Corporation at the MAKS 2017 International Aviation and Space Salon held in July 2017. Russia signed the first contract for 6 MiG-35s in August 2018, with 2 two-seater MiG-35UBs delivered during 2018 and the remaining four single seat MiG-35S during 2019, with introduction into service in the same year. 14 more are planned to be ordered in 2020.
Peru, Myanmar, and Bangladesh were also among the countries interested in acquiring the MiG-35 fighters as of 2017.
- Naval version
- According to the General Director of Mikoyan, Ilya Tarasenko, a carrier-based version of the MiG-35 is under development. The Radioelectronic Technologies Concern (KRET) has already adapted a new landing system to the BINS-SP-2 deck for the MiG-35.
- Russian Aerospace Forces
- The MiG-35 is under development and specification data may change.
- Crew: 1 or 2
- Length: 17.3 m (56 ft 9 in)
- Wingspan: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
- Height: 4.73 m (15 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 38 m² (409 ft²)
- Empty weight: 11,000 kg (24,250 lb)
- Loaded weight: 17,500 kg (38,600 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 29,700 kg (65,500 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Klimov RD-33MK afterburning turbofans
- Dry thrust: 53.0 kN (11,900 lbf) each
- Thrust with afterburner: 88.3 kN (19,840 lbf) each
- Maximum speed:
- At altitude: Mach 2.2 (2,400 km/h; 1,490 mph)
- At sea level: Mach 1.17 (1,450 km/h; 900 mph)
- Range: 2,400 km (1490 mi) ()
- Combat radius: 1,000 km (620 mi; 540 nmi)
- Ferry range:
- With 3 external fuel tanks: 3,100 km (1,930 mi; 1,670 nmi)
- With aerial refueling: 6,000 km (3,730 mi; 3,240 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 19,000 m (62,340 ft)
- Rate of climb: 330 m/s (65,000 ft/min)
- Thrust/weight: 1.03
- Maximum g-load: +10 g
- Guns: 1 × 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 autocannon with 150 rounds
- Hardpoints: 9 hardpoints with a capacity of up to 6,500 kg and provisions to carry combinations of:
- Zhuk RP-35 passive electronically scanned array radar (current)
- Phazotron Zhuk-AE active electronically scanned array radar (future)
- OLS-UEM electro-optical targeting system
- OLS-K electro-optical targeting system
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Saab JAS 39 Gripen
- Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
- Dassault Rafale
- Eurofighter Typhoon
- General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon (E/F Block 60)
- Shenyang J-11B
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mikoyan MiG-35.|
- RAC MiG Corporation page on MiG-35/MiG-35D
- Klimov page on RD-33MK 'Sea Wasp' engine
- Klimov page on OVT Thrust Vectoring Nozzle used on the MiG-29M OVT variant
- Mikoyan MiG-35 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft page on bdmilitary.com
- "Russia would offer MiG-35 to India", RIA Novosti
- "Russia sells its latest fighter jets to India". RIA Novosti, 23 February 2007.