Russia offers new MiG-35 fighter jets to Indian Air Force

Russia has joined the race for India's latest fighter jet contract, considered one of the biggest in recent years, with the latest MiG-35 aircraft, a 4++ generation fighter jet which boasts of some of the latest avionics and systems.

MiG-35, an advanced version of the MiG-29 aircraft that is in operation with the  Indian Air Force, is equipped to perform some of the most complex tasks, including a vertical climb after takeoff, a Nesterov loop, a barrel roll and a complex tail slide, which also demonstrate its engine capability and high angle of attack.

The aircraft is also equipped with a version of the Phazotron Zhuk AESA radar that is capable of simultaneously detecting and tracking up to 30 aerial targets at up to 160 km away, according to ace test pilot Belyaev Mikhail.

''Compared with the basic version of the MiG-29, it is a new aircraft - new airframe, fly-by-wire, glass cockpit, adapted for night vision engines, more power, more fuel, new on board equipment and new weapons,'' said Mikhail, who was earlier this year presented the star of the 'Hero of Russia' by President Vladimir Putin for bravery in piloting and testing of aviation equipment.

The MiG-35 also carries a forward-looking opto-electronic system to support operations during both day and night, including in beyond-visual-range scenarios.

The equipment and systems in the aircraft are equivalent to the systems installed on Western fifth-generation fighters,

However, while it may be easier to fly the MiG-35 compared to the MiG-29, the aircraft is equipped to prepare some of the most complicated manoeuvres and that needs more skills for its operator.

"The new equipment makes it easier to fly, but then, more challenging combat tasks are given. New tasks arise from existence of this aircraft; more complex combat tasks can be achieved," he said.

The flight tests of MiG-35 fighter aircraft began on 26 January and the plane's international presentation was held in the Moscow Region on the following day.

Speaking to the media at the MAKS Aerospace Exhibition in Moscow, chief executive officer of the MiG Aircraft Corporation Ilya Tarasenko said the MiG-35 was first presented to Indian authorities and that they had evinced keen interest in the aircraft.

''We are proposing supply of the aircraft for tenders in India and we actively work with its Air Force in order to win the tender,'' he said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the MAKS 2017 air show.

''We are in the negotiation stage where talks on technical and technological specifications that MiG can present to India and the requirements that India has for this aircraft were taking place.''

''Since this is a very new plane, it will still take some time to negotiate on exactly what India needs and adjust the product to it,'' he added.

MiG Corporation also claims the aircraft to be 20-25 per cent cheaper compared to other similar aircraft and lso economical due to the after-sales services and training of pilots being offered along with the aircraft.

''We propose not just the aircraft, but also training for its use, as well as after-sales servicing where we take upon the responsibility to service it for 40 years,'' he added.

For those who are looking for an option, Tarasenko said, with its flight capabilities, new weapon range and defence systems, including stealth, the MiG-35's technical specifications were close to a fifth generation aircraft.

''I would like to note the demand for this aircraft for our own air force, as well as our foreign partners. The plane is light, multi-functional and has high manoeuvrability,'' Tarasenko said, adding that the MiG was also offering special commercial terms to its partners.

He also stressed that the plane was fully Russian-made with Rostec companies like United Engine Corporation (UEC), KRET and Technodinamika participating in the project.

At MAKS 2017, the MiG-35 was the cynosure of all eyes as it enthralled spectators with breathtaking manoeuvres like the tail slide, barrel roll and the Nesterov loop as it took to air.