My real question is how effective really is the R-77 that the EAF bought (which was why I was asking which model do we know that they actually did buy) I know it must be one of the export models but there's so many and a bit confusing.
First of all the Su-30MKI wasn't compatible with the newer R-77-1 or its export name RVV-SD. They had to buy the RVV-AE instead which is a much older inferior missile in most respects.
The MiG-35s Egypt has... with or without AESA radar is fully compatible with all the newer Russian missiles so I don't see any reason why they wouldn't buy them.
But second the longest range missile does not automatically win... air to air missiles fired at their maximum range are very low energy when they arrive and are at their easiest to avoid... if you can help it you really want to climb and accelerate before launching your missile to give it the most energy for the attack... and even then those ranges given for all missiles are ideal circumstances where the target is heading towards you at normal flight speed... ie 600-800km/h so an 80km launch of an R-77 might reach the target at perhaps 65km range...
[qutoe]There is also the issue with what happened with the Indian/Pakistani tussle on Feb-27th that resulted in a PAF F-16 shooting down an Indian MiG-21 Bison with an AIM-120C and the Indian Su-30KI which were at roughly the same distance couldn't lock onto the Pakistani F-16 because their radar signals kept telling them the range was beyond that of the R-77 they were carrying.[/quote]
The Su-30 is a much faster aircraft with a lot more onboard fuel if they knew what was happening around them they could easily have turned and accelerated to mach 1.5 and climbed to 12-14km altitude and by the time they got to that altitude and speed the target would have been within range and they could have launched their missile and then turned off the ABs and turned 90 degrees and flown for a bit then turn back and had a look to see if they needed to fire another missile or not.
It rather sounds like on the Indian side every fighter type is essentially on their own with regard to information and data sharing which is a much more important problem to fix than how far their missiles will travel to hit targets.
The fact that the Egyptians are buying jammers tells me they have a better understanding of what a force multiplier is and why they are useful... even if they are not cheap.
I'm guessing the R-77 the EAF bought is the same as the Indian one with the 80km range which is really not enough. They should've bought the R-27 if the R-77-1 is not available for export.
The fact that they are buying MiG-35s rather than cheaper MiG-29M2s, and they are buying jammer pods suggests to me they want tools of war that work rather than paying lip service and buying flashy shiny stuff that looks good on parades.
Yeah I'm not too worried about the AESA TBH, Gary. Even though you get more range and it's supposed to be much harder to jam since it basically works by chirping, changing frequency every time it sends out a signal which is practically impossible to jam, as of now anyway!
Electronic scanning is useful... it is why most Russian radars are PESA... jamming is one thing and deception and decoys is another... there is no perfect radar that sees everything all the time without being detectable.
Not saying it is not good or worth the effort of developing, but to start with it is very expensive because essentially it is an array of thousands of radar transmit and receive radar modules... a PESA only has one. Once they have gotten the technology working and mature at that scale they will develop it further and get new capabilities not possible with PESA that will make the extra cost worth it and they will likely start introducing test models.
They are also working on photonic radar that might render it completely obsolete...
Between its range and ability against jamming, those certainly aren't minor or negligible upgrades and make a huge difference, but there are other techniques to work around that provided the weapons in the missiles have compatible ranges to the enemy's.
There is also tactics to consider... if you have an AWACS platform nearby most of the time fighters operate radar silent anyway so spending 10 million dollars per fighter to fit it with a brand new long range radar you keep turned off or just listening like any other radar could do is not an ideal way to run a business.
The cost of AESA elements often means the radar antenna itself is reduced width so the full nose space of the aircraft is not filled which reduces the effective antenna which actually reduces range.
The MiG-35 also has an advantage in that it has a IRST even though range for that is limited to 30 km at the most, it still allows the MiG to shut down its radar and use its IRST which hampers the enemy's ability to detect it.
More like 90km... 30km is the range of the laser rangefinder. In fact in the 1990s the Americans were worried that the IRST of the MiG-29 could detect an F-16 in a dogfight at distances greater than the F-16 could detect the MiG with its radar... an F-16 has a large powerful engine that puts out a lot of heat in full AB...
The other item I see lacking in the EAF MiG-35 -- besides the ones you and I have mentioned so far -- is the OLS-K. The OLS-K seems to be missing from the bottom of the aircraft as I don't see any glass bubble on the protrusion that belongs to that item.
It hasn't got its AESA yet, so it clearly isn't a complete 35... perhaps there are other components they are getting customised or the export model is being produced... remember the MiG-35 was originally offered to India and was a different aircraft. This current model was a model developed after the Indians rejected it and the Russian Air Force mentioned interest in the aircraft. Personally I think if India had bought a mixed batch of say 50 MiG-35s and perhaps 150 MiG-29M2s it probably would have been in the 10-12 billion dollar ball park... if 126 35s was going to be 10 billion then only 50 would be less than 5 billion and you could probably get three times more MiG-29M2s for the same price or thereabouts.
Anyway... if India had bought MiGs then the Russian AF might have ordered 48 and that would have been that... MiG would be fine until the Su-57 was in serial production and the new light 5th gen stealth fighter was needed... so MiG would be at the leading edge and the new light stealth fighter would be good.
With India buying some Rafales the Russians clearly realised they still needed about 50 lighter fighters for around the place so they made all sorts of demands and ordered essentially brand new MiG-35s which is what they have now, but everything pretty much had to be better and some of it is not actually ready yet.
Not the end of the world. The Typhoon couldn't hit ground targets till about the third tranch, and we don't need to mention the F-35.
Tactics generally make up for any shortcomings of a platform...
If the R-37M is capable of being fired from a MiG-35 using the Zhuk-ME, then the range is sufficient for that radar to use longer range missiles than the 80km R-77.
The most valuable part of being able to fire the R-37M is to be able to accelerate and climb and launch to max range a missile that should be able to take down most AWACS platforms with relative ease... and taking those types of aircraft down would seriously reduce the performance of any capable opponent... AWACS platforms are expensive but also worth it...