Why IAF rejected MiG 35 Fulcrum F in MMRCA


Many in the social media claiming that the MiG 35 is the better low cost option to ramp up the number of fighter jets in Indian Air force, without knowing the actual reason behind why IAF didn’t said any words about MiG 35. Russian fighters are good, but not suits for modern Indian requirements. The air fighting evolved since years that dog fighting replaced with long range BVR missiles.

During the initial days of MMRCA evaluation, IAF rejected American F 16 and Swedish Gripen as a reason of single engine. the first lesson for the contenders that IAF clearly looking the modern fighter should fight in the dense condition, even if the IR guided missiles burst the engine, the fighter need to be return to base without being crashed.

During evaluations, MiG 35 was forced out, without even tested by IAF in many conditions, This is recently declassified by the MiG CEO, which was published in IDRW . This due to some reasons, one is during the evaluation trails two MiG 29’s crashed in Russia, which forced all MiG 29 grounded. This issue also well addressed by live fist in early 2010. The detailed information explained by Shiv aroor and posted in Livefist .

The Mikoyan & Gurevich 35 or MiG-35 is basically an upgrade of the already existing Mig-29 fleet in the IAF.The primary role for which the aircraft has been built is to gain air superiority apart from carrying out all-weather precision ground strikes./////////The test flights for the aircraft began in early 2017, and it will be combat ready by 2018 according to the Russians.

Despite claims by Mikoyan, the makers, that the aircraft is capable of taking on fifth-generation fighters, there were certain limitations that hamper its capabilities.

According to Military Today, in spite of its modern features, the avionics and sensors of MiG-35 are inferior when compared with Western designs. Furthermore, Russia has a limited production of proposed MiG-35 aircraft, which is not much threat to Western air forces. Also, in spite of its high maneuverability, the plane sacrifices in range and weight to attain agility.

The IAF’s intentions is clear, that they don’t want the MiG platforms so the Russian planes. This due to the IAF’s serious discussion after the evolving ground threats and need of good close air support platform. Here many think dumb bombs can easily worked out. However this is not true, A fighter needs to be visually identifies the ground target before dropping bombs.

The Americans and the Western fighters doing this since decade after learning lessons in Gulf war. Pakistan and China has massive number of mobile platforms like Artillery’s and Tanks. A good fighter with loads of LGB can only stop the enemy’s offensive platforms.

The MiG or the Su 35 can’t do this. Russians has different operating procedure, their main objective is defend the Russian air space from enemy fighters and provide air cover to the ground troops. The reason why Russia using so many Fighter jets and interceptors and operating very less number of ground attack jets like Frogfoots.

The Indian air force expanded it’s capabilities from defensive mission into air offensive and close air support. Currently India has enough number of such fighter aircraft’s. 300 of Su 30 MKI and another 60 MiG 29 UPG is enough for such mission. More over Indian air space is heavily guarded by long range missiles like Barak ( upcoming ) and Akash SAM systems. So the Indian air space is well protected by those layered defensive networks.

The IAF is so happy with the usage of western fighter jets like Jaguar and Mirage 2000 and planned to keep those fighters upto 2030. those fighters are very good in precision bombing missions. they were upgraded and can provide close air support to the ground units in anytime, day night and any tough weather conditions.

Furthermore, these are the following points which have prohibited IAF from acquiring it.

  1. The aircraft is still in developmental stage. The time period for production of the aircraft is being cited is unusually long. Also, this will happen once it is combat ready, which will be in 2018.
  2. Despite claims and added features, it is not suitable for long-range missions and its payload is lesser compared to other aircraft.
  3. It is an upgrade of the Mig 29, so most of the features and operational data would have already been tracked down by the enemy.
  4. It was high time IAF diversified its fleet. Most of our aircraft are Russian made.
  5. Compared to a Mig 29 which is priced around $20 million, the Mig 35 is currently priced at $40 million, which may change depending upon its final review in 2018.
  6. IAF has already met its requirements in the Rafale and the LCA.



India is not going to fight against militia or poorly equipped army’s, India needs to fight against two modern army’s even in tough terrain condition. So CAS will be achieved with modern multi purpose fighters like Rafale. not the air superiority fighters like MiG 29 or 35.




Source:- Life of solider &&  Alcatraz Day article  Quora

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