Russia’s MiG-35 fighter is being briefly used against Ukraine, UAC reported

A MiG-35 panel blows out from its wing during a airshow in Moscow, Russia. Photo by Popular Mechanics.

The latest Russian fighter jet, the MiG-35, has been confirmed to be deployed in the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to statements by Sergei Korotkov, the Chief Designer at the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

Having undergone its maiden flight in 2016 and showcased in 2017, the MiG-35 currently boasts six pre-production models within the Russian Aerospace Forces’ arsenal.

Mechanically steered Zhuk-ME Pulse Doppler Radar exported to Egyptian Air Force for MiG-29M2 aircraft and adopted the same radar for the prospective MiG-35.

“In light of the current events, especially [the war in Ukraine], the aircraft is already participating in all ongoing operations. Further test flights are yet to be completed, and then the Ministry of Defense will make the final decision,” Korotkov mentioned in response to inquiries about the decision for serial procurement of the MiG-35 for the Russian Aerospace Forces. He highlighted that the MiG-35 specifications “meet the requirements of foreign customers,” with negotiations underway for potential export deals.

According to Russian state media, the MiG-35 represents a cutting-edge aviation complex categorized as a “4++” generation aircraft, integrating fourth-generation fighter technologies tailored for operation near the airbase and under cover of the air defense system. It offers versatility in combat scenarios, designed to engage airborne targets in all conditions, day or night, and strike both mobile and stationary ground and surface targets.

The new radar is the Zhuk-AME, which has been under development since the 2000s. Due to financial constraints, the Zhuk-AME has been in the production stage, and the Zhuk-AME design has been exported to China for its J-10 fighter jets. China adopted Zhuk-AME, which is the new KLJ-7A radar.

The MiG-35’s developers emphasize an old MiG-29 airframe, a pulse Doppler radar, RD-33MK engines with increased thrust, and the ability to serve as an aerial refuelling tanker. The aircraft can deploy various guided and unguided missiles and the latest TV-guided bombs.

Originally, the Russian Defence Ministry had planned to order 37 MiG-35s. But the order number was reduced to 24, and then ultimately to just six examples were ever built by UAC – a harbinger of what the Russo-Ukraine War has stunningly confirmed: that the Russians are light on resources.

The deployment of the MiG-35 in the Ukrainian conflict is currently not supported by anything other than a statement in the Russian media.

The Mig-29M and two-seat Mig-29M2 upgrades were labelled as the Mig-35. It’s a similar renaming to the way the Su-27M/S upgrades got changed into the Su-35. It sounds like a completely new aircraft, but it isn’t a new aircraft at all.

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