Russia and India have reached such an outstanding level of confidence after decades of fruitful cooperation in the field of defence, that, India turned to Russia for fighters with sense of urgency. During Defence Minister’s recent visit to Russia he took up the issue of urgent supply of equipment and spares needed for the Russian-origin fighter aircraft including the Su-30MKIs and MiG-29s of the Air Force and the MiG29Ks of the Indian Navy, the T-90 battle ranks for the Army and the Kilo-class submarines of the Navy along with other warships. The sources said the equipment was earlier supposed to be supplied to India through the sea route but was stuck there for several months due to the COVID-19 situation.
On January 26, 2017, the Russian Air Force began testing a pre-production batch of the new MiG-35 aircraft, which is a derivative of the MiG-29. The MiG-35 prototype was first flown in 2007; now the aircraft has been totally changed and equipped with new avionics. The earlier MiG-29 is a light aircraft produced by the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (“RAC MiG,” originally the Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Bureau), with outstanding aerodynamic qualities and the highest rate of climb of any multi-role aircraft (330 m / s). The MiG-29 entered service in 1982. There have been 1,600 units produced. In military combat, the MiG-29 was surpassed by the F-15 and F-16 due to its inferior avionics system. The reason for that was that until 2004, Russia lacked the funds necessary for research in the avionics field in order to improve and replace the old equipment.
Unlike RAC MiG, Lockheed preferred to make continual improvements to the F-16, especially in avionics, instead of designing another 4th++ generation aircraft. Since 1978, they built 4,500 of the planes, in all the models: F-16A/B (Block 1/5/10/15/20) and F-16C/D (Block 25/30/32 / 40/42/50/52), with the F-16E/F (Block 60) being the latest version — it features much of the equipment on the 5th generation F-35 aircraft. The US Air Force has 900 F-16s.
To get the performance of the MiG-29 close to that of the F-16, RAC MiG’s Sokol aircraft factory in Nizhny Novgorod (400 km east of Moscow) created upgraded models such as the MiG-29M/M2, MiG-29SMT and MiG 29 K/KUB (carrier-borne). The MiG-35 is the latest version of the MiG-29 and is not intended as an interceptor jet, as it is inferior to the F-22, F-35 and F-15. With the MiG-35 C, the Russians are aiming to reduce the cost of flying by 2.5 times, increase the MiG-29’s ability to strike ground targets, and to defend themselves from 4th++ generation aircraft such as the F-16 C / D, SAAB Gripen, Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-18C / D.
The MiG-29’s cabin has been redesigned. The MiG-35 has an EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) containing three MFD (multi-function display) colour LCDs that display navigation data as well as readings on the tactical situation, motor control, fuel, and special equipment. Additionally, it has HMTDS (Helmet-Mounted Target Designation Systems) equipment and it has HUD (Head-Up Display) displays on the windshield. It uses a fly-by-wire flight control system with three channels. The MiG-35 communication system includes two new radio stations, one of them serving as a secret data line as well. The data line transmits, via satellite, information from ground-based and ship-based command and control points, and from Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft (AWACS / AEW). This gives the MiG-35 additional and reliable information about the situation in the air, which increases the likelihood of fulfilling its mission.
There is also some good news coming in from the MiG corporation as they have developed a patent for an intelligent system for highly manoeuvrable combat aircraft protection against going beyond critical g-loads.