when in January Russia officially announced the testing of MIG-35 fighter planes. If everything progresses according to plan, the latest MIG will enter into service in 2020, gradually replacing the legendary MIG-29 fighter planes which have formed the backbone of the Russian air force since the 1980s. However, despite the announcement, there are numerous issues with the new fighter plane, which may easily change Russian plans.

Not So Fast
The MIG-35 is not a revolutionary new fighter plane. Designing the plane began in the 1980s and it was first presented at the international aircraft and military technology exhibition, Aero India, in Bengluru, India, in 2007. Back then, the Russians hoped to sell a large number of the planes to the Indians but the French interfered in that and the Indians, to everyone’s surprise, finally chose the Dassault Rafale; although perhaps not accidentally. The Russians have an old habit of giving new names to improve and modernised, old type weapons; which may be very misleading. A MIG-35 is nothing other but an upgraded MIG-29 and at first sight, it is not very different to its predecessor. However, that does not mean that the MIG-35 is not a good fighter plane. The MIG-29 was also good and it is no surprise that it is still in use by some 30 countries. In addition, the MIG-35 also contains a lot of promising innovations which can make it attractive to other countries too. The Russians made it clear that they intended to export their latest “high-tech product” and that intention was also confirmed by President Vladimir Putin at the presentation of the MIG-35.

 

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