Mikoyan MiG-35

One of the most important Russian fighters in the last three decades has just evolved. Mikoyan successfully held the first test with the MiG-35, the new generation of the MiG-29. The inaugural flight of the aircraft, carried out from the manufacturer’s headquarters in Lukhovtsy, near Moscow, was accompanied by Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, in videoconference.

“This aircraft already has good export potential. I mean the other aircraft, the MiG-29, is used actively in more than 30 countries,” Putin said. Yuri Slyusar, president of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), a Russian aerospace group that Mikoyan is part of, said the first MiG-35 series units will be ready by 2019.

The advanced version of the MiG-29 has been proposed since the late 1980s, but only in the last decade has its development started. In 2007, Mikoyan introduced the MiG-35D, a demo version of the new fighter still based on the MiG-29 platform. This aircraft was prepared to participate in the new fighter acquisition program in India, which eventually chose the Dassault Rafale, made in France.

The MiG-35 tested in Russia already incorporates the structural modifications and new generation equipment. A major breakthrough in the hunt is eight weapon points, two more than the MiG-29, and the use of more efficient engines, which increase the aircraft’s autonomy by 50 percent.

According to the manufacturer, the MiG-35 is designed to reach a top speed of 2,700 km/h (1,700 mph) and will run longer than 2,000 km using only the fuel in its internal tanks. The project also provides for the use of up to three external fuel tanks and the possibility of air refueling.

The MiG-35 is what is called the “multi-mission” fighter. It can be used in both air combat, bomber missions, ground attack and naval missions. “This aircraft can use all kinds of new weapons, as well as laser weapons,” the UAC president told the Russian news agency TASS.

The new Mikoyan fighter plane is the so-called “4th Generation++” fighter, considered the last step of this category. Other aircraft of this segment are Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18 and Saab Gripen NG.