Russia & UAC discussing MiG-35 future configuration for the country's Air Force

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Russia
Russia & UAC discussing MiG-35 future configuration for the country's Air Force
The Russian Ministry of Defense and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) are determining the configuration of the latest MiG-35 multi-purpose fighter. At the request of the military, the aircraft has to receive thrust-vectoring engines, a new navigation target acquisition system and an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
The MiG-35 multipurpose fighter jet
(Credit: UAC/MiG)
In terms of its performance and combat potential, this aircraft will significantly surpass the MiG-29 fighters that are in service with the Aerospace Forces, the newspaper Izvestia writes.

The presentation of the new MiG-35 took place in January this year at MAPO-MiG, Lukhovitsy. The pre-production prototype of the aircraft was unveiled to foreign and Russian military. On the outside, it turned out to be almost the same as the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB planes. As UAC Vice-President for Innovation Sergey Korotkov told then, the main changes concerned the airborne equipment and avionics of the aircraft.

Izvestia was told at the Defense Ministry that the configuration of the MiG-35 version for the Russian Aerospace Forces is being developed jointly with UAC and MiG. The work is at approval stage. But it is already known that the aircraft will be powered by the RD-33MK thrust-vectoring engines. Provision is also made for a new AESA radar, the Zhuk-A.

The corporation’s press service informed Izvestia that UAC was working closely with the Ministry of Defense. All the requirements for the new fighter will be fully taken into account and met.

For now, the MiG-35 is fitted with conventional RD-33MK engines. However, on customer’s request, they can be replaced with a thrust-vectoring version. This is the same RD-33MK, but with special swiveling nozzles, which makes it possible to manipulate the direction of the jet with respect to the initial direction of the aircraft’s flight. Such a system with a swiveling nozzle was tested on the MiG-29M OVT super-maneuverable testbed aircraft. The presence of a swiveling nozzle radically distinguishes the MiG-35’s engine from the AL-31FP thrust-vectoring engines mounted on Su-30SM heavy fighters. Sukhoi fighters’ engines are a single block, while MiG’s engines consist of two separate units.

Expert Andrei Frolov told Izvestia that a customization of the MiG-35 to meet the Ministry of Defense’s requirements is fully justified and entails no additional financial expences. "The customer, in this case the Defense Ministry, wants to get what it needs," the expert said. "The MiG-35 resulted from MiG’s independent development effort. A certain concept project was presented. There simply has been no such practice in our industry. Accordingly, any requirements to be met in the development of the fighter were not initially elaborated. Now, if the military wants to adopt the aircraft, the developer has to take into account the wishes and tailor the aircraft to the tasks that it has to carry out in the Aerospace Forces."

In May of this year, Aerospace Forces Commander-in-Chief Viktor Bondarev said that the whole fleet of light fighters would be replaced with the MiG-35. According to the commander-in-chief, the aircraft will be tasked with defeating air and ground targets. In the future, it can be used in local conflicts, like the Syrian one. Even laser-guided weapons will be installed on the newest fighter, Bondarev said, without giving details. At the same time, Korotkov said that the contract for fielding the MiG-35 multipurpose fighters would be signed after the completion of the official tests and would be included into the new State Armaments Program, the newspaper Izvestia recalls.
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