The Russian MiG-35 multi-role fighter is a successor to the MiG-29
The MiG-35 multi-role fighter was developed by Mikoyan design bureau in the early 2000s. It is a significantly improved version of the MiG-29. This fighter aircraft has the latest electronic equipment, new engines and other systems. The MiG-35 made its first flight and was first publicly revealed in 2007.
Its reporting name in the West is Fulcrum-F. The aircraft was developed for a number of years. In 2013 it was announced that Russian Air Force plans to order a total of 37 new aircraft. By 2016 a total of 3 prototypes and 2 pre-production aircraft were completed. Factory trials of this aircraft were completed in 2017. In 2019 two of these multi-role fighters were delivered to the Russian Air Force for trials and evaluation and another four were planned to be delivered by the end of 2019.
The MiG-35 was also proposed for export customers, including Algeria, Egypt and India. However by 2021 this fighter received no production orders. Currently the MiG aircraft manufacturer is close to the state of bankruptcy. Its income comes only from servicing operational fighters in service with the Russian air force as well as export customers. In 2021 it was announced that the MiG corporation will sell 60 hectares of its facilities. Currently all new Russian fighter aircraft are being produced by Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer.
Main roles of this aircraft is to gain air superiority as well as to perform all-weather precision ground strikes. It can also perform aerial reconnaissance with special equipment.
The MiG-35 multi-role fighter was developed from the MiG-29M. Overall design of the new aircraft is similar to that of the baseline MiG-29. The first prototype was a modification of the aircraft, that previously served as the MiG-29M2 model demonstrator. Mikoyan design bureau classifies the MiG-35 as a 4++ generation fighter. Due to increased weight the new aircraft is now classed as medium-weight fighter.
The new aircraft has vastly improved avionics and ωɛλρσɳ systems, notably the new Phazatron Zhuk active phased array radar. 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 130-160 km for air targets and 300 km for ships.
The MiG-35 can track 30 targets and engage 6 of them simultaneously. The aircraft is also fitted with two optical location systems. The forward one looks for air targets. It can detect incoming fighters at least from 50 km and outgoing fighters at least from 90 km. The second optical location system is placed under fuselage and looks for surface targets.
It can detect a tank at 20 km. However it seems that avionics and sensors of the MiG-35 are inferior comparing to Western designs. Aircraft proposed for export can be fitted with avionics and onboard equipment made by Russia, USA, France, Israel or other countries.
This multi-role fighter is armed with a 30 mm cannon and carries 150 rounds of ammunition. Aircraft has 9 external hardpoints and can carry up to 7 000 kg of payload. It can use various air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, unguided rockets, precision guided and free-fall bombs.
It is claimed that this aircraft has a variety of integrated defensive systems to increase combat survivability. It is likely that this fighter will be fitted with a new Italian multi-function jammer.
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 12-15%.
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.
MiG-35D is a two seat version.