MiG-35 is the pinnacle of the MiG aircraft family. This aircraft is incorporated in many technologies of the 5th generation fighters, helping the aircraft be capable of flying at high speeds and excellent combat capabilities.
The MiG-35 is a further development fighter from the MiG-29 Fulcrum platform, which is expected to help Mikoyan Aircraft Corporation regain its glory in the past. Despite being advertised as a masterpiece from a famous Russian aircraft manufacturer, however, the MiG-35 could not find any orders, even the Russian air force did not seem to care about it. However, it seems that the life of the Mig-35 is about to change as the Russian Aerospace Forces have received two modern MiG-35S fighters and will receive four more before the end of the year, marking the introduction of the variant into service, according to Russian media.
The MiG-35 multi-role fighter was developed by Mikoyan design bureau in the early 2000s. Russia unveiled the MiG-35 at the 2007 Aero India air show in Bangalore, this fighter aircraft has the latest electronic equipment, new engines and other systems. Its reporting name in the West is Fulcrum-F, factory trials of this aircraft were completed in 2017.
MiG-35 and its double-seat modification of the MiG-35D are designed to carry out tasks for the destruction of air, moving and stationary land and sea targets in all climates and weather conditions. Both aircraft have the same structure, a set of avionics and nomenclature airborne weapons. The D version can be used as a combat training aircraft for training pilots of the MiG-35 family.
As noted above, the MiG-35 is an advanced derivative of the original MiG-29. While the airframe is similar, the aircraft is practically a new design under the hood. Compared the to original Fulcrum, the MiG-35 adds a completely new fly-by-wire control system, a lighter airframe, more fuel capacity, more efficient engines and thrust-vectoring nozzles.
The MiG-35 is fitted with two Klimov RD-33MK engines. At the moment it is the latest version of the RD-33. Originally this engine was designed for MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB naval fighters. It has 7% more power than the baseline model and provides higher thrust. Engines include systems that reduce infrared and optical signature. Optionally the aircraft can be fitted with RD-33MKV engines with thrust-vectoring nozzles. Thrust can be directed in two planes. This would increase combat efficiency of the aircraft by 12 to 15%.
With this powerful engine system, MiG-35 can climb at the rate of 330m/s. Its maximum speed is 2,400km/h. The normal and ferry range of the aircraft are 2,000km and 3,100km respectively. The service ceiling is 17,500m. The aircraft weighs around 11,000kg and its maximum take-off weight is 29,700kg.
The MiG-35 presents super-manoeuvrability, a capability to fly at supercritical angles of attack at increased level of sustained and available g-loads and high turn-angle rate, which requires a greater thrust-to-weight ratio and improved wing aerodynamic efficiency.
Currently the only production fighter to use a two-plane thrust vectoring nozzles is the Russian Sukhoi Su-35. Other thrust-vectoring aircraft, such as F-22 Raptor and Su-30MKI have nozzles that vector only in one plane.
More importantly, the MiG-35 will add a completely new avionics suite. The new jet will incorporate Russia’s first operational fighter-mounted active electronically scanned array radar, called the Zhuk-MA. This radar detects more targets, is more resistant to electronic countermeasures, has longer detection range and can track and engage more targets simultaneously. It has a detection range of about 130 to 160km for air targets and 300km for ships. The MiG-35 can track 30 targets and engage 6 of them simultaneously.
The MiG-35 will also be equipped with a unique optical locator system, which is a passive air-to-air electro-optical sensor that operates in both visual and infrared wavelengths. The Russians believe that the optical locator system sensor will be useful in countering stealthy aircraft like the F-22 and F-35. The MiG-35 will also incorporate a powerful electronic warfare suite, an area where the Russians excel.
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This multi-role fighter is armed with a 30mm cannon and carries 150rounds of ammunition. Aircraft has 9 external hardpoints and can carry up to 7000 kg of payload. The aircraft’s suite of guided weapons includes Kh-31A anti-ship missiles with active radar seekers, the Kh-31P anti-radar missiles, Kh-29TE missiles and KAB-500Kr TV-guided bombs. Added, when equipped with an external optical or laser targeting pod, the fighter can use the Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles and KAB-500L laser-guided bombs. These weapons will allow the aircraft to engage aerial and land targets.
In developing the MiG-35 attention was paid to the improvement of performance. According to statements of the MiG corporation, flight hour cost of MiG-35 is almost 2.5 times lower than that of the MiG-29. The Russian military seems to have made the main bet on the development of a fleet of heavy Su-27, Su-30, Su-35 and Su-57 fighters in the Air Force and light deck MiG-29K or KUB in the Navy. The MiG Fulcrum line have been overshadowed by Su-khoi Flanker series in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The MiG-35 might be the MiG corporation’ last hope of regaining some of its lost market share on the international fighter market.With the vicissitudes with which the MiG-35 project has been encountered in recent years, it can be said that the Russian Aerospace Forces have received two modern MiG-35 fighters is a good signal for the MiG Group. MiG is ready to completely replace the entire fleet of MiG-29 aircraft with new MiG-35.