Russian Air Force’s (VVS) Mikoyan MiG-35, equipped with an updated onboard electronics suite including active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, will begin its test flights this month.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, announced during a visit to one of Almaz-Antey’s subsidiaries (MKB Fakel) that Mikoyan MiG-35 would begin its test flights this January.
The MiG-35 is the latest version of the MiG-29M/M2, the current production model of the Fulcrum, which has been among the Russian aviation industry’s leading exports. The MiG-35 is being marketed as a very capable, but cost-effective, multi-role fighter.
With limited orders on the docket for the VVS (i.e. 37 planes), Moscow is steering the MiG-35 for primarily the export market, especially the developing world, which is expected to require an affordable platform configured with modern subsystems and weapons.
The MiG-35 is scheduled to become operational before the end of 2020.
Originally, the MiG-35’s Zhuk-AE AESA radar was to be accompanied by the Elettronica ELT/568(v2) self-protection EW/ECM pod and Thales TopOwl-F (formerly designated TopSight) helmet-mounted display and sight (HMD/S) system. However, now it is unclear to what extent these systems will be offered considering the tension between Moscow and its counterparts in Western Europe.