Moscow: With reports circulating that the Germans are dispatching four Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons to participate in the AeroIndia 2009 aeroshow at Bangalore, news now comes in that the Russians are taking no chances and dispatching the MiG-35 once again for participation at what is perhaps the most prestigious air show in the Asia-Pacific region.
The MiG-35 had come down for the sixth edition of the air show, AeroIndia 2007, as well, where it displayed its wares against the likes of the US Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen JAS-39. This year it will, very likely, be up only against the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Like the Typhoon, the MiG-35 advanced jet fighter is a contender for the $11 billion 126 medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force.
According to an official from Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms exporter, "The MiG will certainly make several demonstration flights after its presentation on the first day of the air show. We would like it to show its best features."
The official, Viktor Komardin, deputy director of Rosoboronexport, said that the MiG-35 had an excellent chance to win the tender because of the superb performance characteristics of the Russian aircraft. He also pointed out that Russia and India shared a long-standing partnership in strategic and military-technical cooperation.
"The MiG family is well-known in India. Our Indian partners have production and maintenance facilities ready to produce part for our aircraft," the official said.
Aero India 2009, now in its seventh edition, will open for display at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, from 11-15 February. Leading manufacturers, vendors and suppliers from 35 countries will participate in the show.
Aerospace majors from six countries are contending for the MMRCA contract - Lockheed and Boeing from the United States, Russia's MiG, which is part of the UAC, France's Dassault, Sweden's Saab and the European consortium EADS.
Russia has already signed a contract in March last year to upgrade around 70 MiG-29 fighters, in service with the IAF since the 1980s. Both the countries are alsoin agreement to jointly develop a fifth generation fighter aircraft.
The MiG-35 Fulcrum-F is an export version of the MiG-29M OVT. It is a highly maneuverable air superiority fighter and is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines. These engines provide superior maneuverability and enhance the fighter's performance in close air engagements.
Moscow has already said it would transfer all key technology to India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. if the MiG-35 should win the tender.