MiG-35UB twin-seat light multirole fighter
Russia's MiG-35UB twin-seat light multirole fighter made its public debut on 27 January 2017. As part of the MiG-35UB (two-seat version) trial programme, a crew of Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG – test pilots Mikhail Belyayev and Stanislav Gorbunov – performed a flight to demonstrate its stability, controllability and manoeuvrability characteristics. The objectives and results of the flight have been fully accomplished. All on-board systems worked properly. The engine and the integrated aircraft control system worked properly. The crew’s evaluation is positive. The quantitative evaluation will be made following the processing and analysis of the materials received from flight recording equipment.
The two-seat MiG-35UB combat training version will allow Russian pilots to quickly master the control of a super-maneuverable fighter, which is especially important in the conditions of modern air combat. The new multipurpose MiG-35 fighter has enhanced flight and technical characteristics and is equipped with the very latest weapons systems. It can follow from 10 to 30 targets at once, and can operate over land or sea. This is a genuinely unique and promising aircraft, 4++, very close to being fifth generation, according to MiG.
The plane’s excellent results were achieved through using a new on-board defence system and new infrared search and track. The plane’s radar visibility has been reduced by a several-fold factor. MiG increased from six to eight the number of suspension points, which will make it possible to use current and future airborne weapons systems, including laser weapons.
The plane’s range has been more than doubled. This was achieved through bigger capacity of internal tanks and mid-air refuelling functions, which can be done in tanker regime with aircraft of the same family too. All systems used in the MiG-35 are Russian designed and made, including the newest systems – the inertial system and helmet-mounted targeting system.
The plane was planned as part of the state arms programme with mass production starting in 2019. The contract for two additional pre-production MiG-35UB and MiG-35 aircraft for conducting State tests was signed by the Russian Ministry of Defense in February 2017. RSK MiG at LAZ in Lukhovitsy near Moscow (former Production Complex No. 1) completed the construction of the first two prototypes ("pre-production") of the MiG-35 fighter under a contract to carry out the corresponding development project with the Russian Space Forces. The first single-seater MiG-35 (9-41SR, tail number "702 blue") made the first flight in Lukhovitsy on November 24, 2016, and the double MiG-35UB (9-47SR, tail number "712 blue") - December 1, 2016 of the year. The start of the official factory tests of both aircraft was announced during the presentation on January 26, 2017, they were conducted until December 2017.
In February 2017, it was announced that the Russian Ministry of Defense had signed a contract for two more experienced ("pre-production") samples of the MiG-35 fighter to join the expanded State Test program. Initially, plans were announced to complete the State tests of the MiG-35 fighter by mid-2018, however, in reality, State tests with the participation of two prototypes built in 2016 were only begun in May 2018. The end date of 2019 is the date for completion of the State type tests.
At the international military-technical forum "Army 2018" August 22, 2018 Russian Ministry of Defense has signed an agreement with JSC "United Aircraft Corporation" (UAC which includes JSC "RAC" MiG ") contractfor the supply of the first six serial fighters MiG-35S and MiG-35UB. The term of the contract from 2018 to 2023, it was reported that the first aircraft on it will be delivered at the end of 2019.
It is known that under the State Armaments Program for 2011–2020, the purchase of 37 serial MiG-35S fighters worth about 37 billion rubles for the Russian Air Force (VKS) was assumed. From 2013, the planned deadlines for signing the relevant contract were repeatedly postponed, and the number of MiG-35 fighters planned for procurement by the beginning of 2017 was reduced to 24 cars. According to known data, it was the purchase of exactly 24 serial fighters MiG-35S and MiG-35UB that were included in the approved State Armaments Program for 2018-2027, of which only the first six have been ordered under the 2018 contract.
The plane has good export potential, given that more than 30 countries actively operate another model, the MiG-29, and these countries have a good infrastructure for using these fighters and have the trained personnel. At the same time, of course, industry and everything related to these planes’ operation must be ready so that MiG can offer potential partners the best possible maintenance and servicing available in the world.
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