India has signed a preliminary contract for the purchase of 110 Russian MiG-35 fighters
In 2010, the Indian Air Force decided to hold a competition under the abbreviation MRCA, its goal is to choose the best machine from different companies from among the applicants and to purchase or produce at least 126 multi-purpose vehicles in India. The following vehicles took part in the competition: Rafale, Typhoon, F-16C / D, F / A-18E / F, JAS-39 Gripen and the domestic MiG-35.
However, the MiG-35, like the F 16, quickly left the list, according to the Indian side, the same MiG-35 was supposed to have an on-board radar with AFAR, as well as the most advanced avionics at the time of the deal, but in fact, the car was not going smoothly with this. if everything is not so critical with avionics and avionics, then there were problems with AFAR. The MiG-35 is equipped with an AFAR H010 "Zhuk-A" radar and it would seem, what else is needed? And the fact is that the number of antipersonnel mines was 680 pieces, which is very small for such an airborne radar and did not ensure the detection of a fighter-type target in the front hemisphere beyond 145 km.
It should be noted that not everything went well with the rest of the participants, the competition lasted until 2019 and the French light fighter Rafale won it, a contract was signed for 36 aircraft and 4 vehicles have already been delivered. But it soon became clear that, despite all the advantages of the machine on paper, in reality, not everything is so wonderful. The car turned out to be capricious and demanding on the engineering staff, there were also problems with the supply of spare parts and repair kits, and most importantly, the request for a licensed assembly in India was refused. India has extensive experience in licensed production of military equipment, in particular from Russia, more than 1000 T90S tanks and 255 Su-30MKI fighters have been produced at local factories.
The country's air force again thought about an alternative that would not be inferior in technical terms to the French car and, at the same time, logistics and maintenance would be simple and not expensive. Just the other day in the Indian city of Bangalore, the aerospace salon Aero India 2021 opened, where the Indian side's gaze fell on the MiG-35 and many will ask the question, what's the point?
The fact is that the MiG-35 presented the other day and at Max 2019 is a completely different machine than the one that was shown in 2010. The machine received a new variation of the RD-33MKV engine with a controlled thrust vector, the airframe also underwent changes, the main empennage became larger in area, the rear empennage also increased in size, and other smaller airframe elements also changed. However, the main difference is the radar and avionics, this time NIIR "Phazotron" greatly improved the N010 "Zhuk-MA" by adding 1148 PPM to the canvas and increasing the canvas by 200 mm, they were able to obtain a detection rate of up to 225 km (fighter) in the X-band at 10 GHz with a wavelength of 3 cm.
Avionics also underwent strong changes, few people know that Russia was able to master its avionics only by 2012, and to produce mass production with the support of KRET by 2014. By 2018, 90% of the avionics were changed on the MiG-35, including flight instruments. There are no official photos of the cockpit of the export MiG-35, there is only a photo of the version for the Russian Air Force, and it is almost identical to the one on the MiG-29KUB. But there is an approximate idea of the display devices in the cockpit of the export car, since a fragment of the cockpit was seen in one of the videos from Max 2019, and later I was able to find some of its components. The feature of the cockpit is a huge wide-format MFI-25SH, developed by the Elkus company, in functionality it is similar to that installed on the F 35, and supplemented by a new ILS from the Su-35S.
Taking into account all the changes in the car, after 10 years of the first tender, at Aero India 2021, Russian aircraft manufacturers and military representatives of India managed to reach an agreement on concluding a contract for the supply of the Indian Air Force of MiG-35 fighters after confirming the parameters set by the tender, as well as a possible licensed assembly. The plans include 110 combat aircraft, which, taking into account the cost of one combat vehicle, suggests that the contract is valued at more than $ 5 billion.