MiG-35 has not been accepted for service in Russia and has not been mass-produced.
In the mid-2000s, the MiG-35 was unexpectedly entered into an Indian Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender. At the time, the MiG-35 was purely a crude, hastily designed product. Worse, the MiG-35 went to international tender, but was built on a foundation of clearly outdated technologies. It was a pure gamble not only for MiGs, but also for the entire Russian defense industry.
Since then, the MiG-35 has not been accepted for service in Russia and has not been mass-produced. The results of the bidding revealed the truth of the new design, no one would dare to buy a design with so many flaws. The MiG-35 did not make it to the final list, and was even eliminated first. The MMRCA Tendering Committee produced a list of 14 defects of the MiG-35, which, although undisclosed, were leaked to the press. The biggest weakness is about the engine of the MiG-35, which does not show the characteristics as designed. The active electronically scanned array radar, Zhuk, is claimed to be phased, but MiG has equipped it with a passive array.
The six MiG-35s built for the current tests are completely different products from the previous prototype. Once again, the MiG-35 will continue to compete with German, French, Swedish and American fighters in India, in a completely different position.
Revolutionary changes are the RD-33MK engine, with advanced technical and technological characteristics. Its afterburner thrust is up to 88.3 kN. The engines use a fully digital control system and plasma ignition technology, fully meeting the requirements for fifth generation aircraft engines. The engine exhaust nozzle can be changed in two directions like the F-22, if requested. Remember, the famous Russian Swifts aerobatic team chose the MiG-35, because this aircraft is super maneuverable and easy to control.
The avionics of the MiG-35 use some components of the fifth-generation aircraft. Russia also offered Zhuk-A/AM AESA radar for export market. Some sources stated the MiG-35 was to be equipped with the new Phazotron Zhuk-A/AE active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
The MiG-35 has an excellent power-to-weight ratio. Its weapon load reached 6.5 tons, an increase of 2 tons compared to the Mig-29M. The MiG-35 can carry modern air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. The Mig-35’s rate of climb is extremely impressive, at 330 m/s. The full-load combat radius is 1,000 km, the flight range without aerial refueling is 3,100 km, far exceeding its predecessor MiG-29.
Even the electro-optical observation system of the MiG-35 is more flexible than that of the Su-35. The MiG-35 is equipped with even two electro-optical targeting stations with infrared spectrum and television imaging channels. Of which one station made observations in the anterior hemisphere, used for air combat; The second station is designed with lookdown capability against ground, which increases the capabilities of the MiG-35 in ground attacks.
The problem of later modernization of the MiG-35 was also designed optimally. Its avionics has an open architecture and uses a common data bus. This simplifies connecting new devices as much as possible, without the need for complicated installation and removal of old software. The MiG-35 is the second Russian fighter after the Su-57 equipped with an artificial intelligence (AI) system that helps pilots in combat or complex actions.