MiG-35 Fulcrum-F – Russian multirole fighter [review]
The RSK MiG-35 multi-purpose combat aircraft is a modernized version of the Soviet MiG-29M2. Unofficially, the MiG-35 is also called the Super Fulcrum. The MiG-35 is currently available in two versions, the single-seat MiG-35 and the two-seat MiG-35D.
In the mid-1990s, the need to modernize the MiG-29 model became increasingly clear. The design goals were more versatile applications and the coordination with new air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon systems. In addition, the fuel capacity and thus the range should be increased and the workload of the pilot should be reduced by modern cockpit equipment.
From a purely external point of view, the changes compared to the MiG-29 model appeared to be minor, but the cell based on the MiG-29K variant, which was suitable for the carrier, was largely completely redesigned.
Above all, clearly visible changes are enlarged air inlets and a new kind of protective net against foreign bodies in the air inlets. The previous additional air intakes on the top were no longer available, and the space freed up was used for additional tanks.
The fuselage hump has been enlarged and now runs to the end of the fuselage. An enlarged air brake was installed on the hump. The originally rounded edges of the wing root extensions (LERX) were designed with sharp edges in order to improve the generation of buoyant air vortices in extreme flight conditions.
The MiG-35 was developed in the city of Luchowizy in the Moscow Oblast.
Up until 2013, 37 aircraft were expected to be procured before it became known that the industry could not have provided the required capacity. The purchase was initially postponed to 2016. At the time of announcing the delivery of two aircraft to the Department of Defense for testing in 2016, no definitive procurement contract was signed.
In January 2017, Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev, commander-in-chief of the Russian Air and Space Forces, announced that all light fighter planes in Russia should be replaced by MiG-35 multi-purpose combat aircraft.
There is a total need for 170 comparable aircraft, but he did not give a definite date for this. The previous day, it had been announced that the Russian MiG-35 multi-purpose combat aircraft had completed its first sightseeing flight in Luchowizy near Moscow on January 27.
In 2017, the leadership of the Russian Air Force announced that after successfully completing the flight tests, an order for 30 MiG-35s would be placed.
The MiG-35 has the radar and weapon control complex NIIR Schuk-A. The radar is the first Russian fighter aircraft radar to have an antenna with active electronic beam swiveling (AESA with 680 T / R modules), the range is 160 km (85 NM) against air targets and 300 km against sea targets. It can pursue 30 targets at once and combat six of them in rapid succession with R-77 or R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles.
It has the ability to create high-resolution radar maps, which enables the detection of significantly smaller ground targets than in the previous model. A receiver in combination with an inertial platform, which is compatible with both GLONASS and GPS, provides navigation and enables an accuracy of up to one meter.
The optics and infrared sensor Kols-MG and the helmet visor for the pilot are used for target acquisition. Depending on the weather, the optical system has a range of up to 30 kilometers. The pilot operates a four-channel fly-by-wire control. It relieves the pilot by automatically limiting the angle of attack. The FBW system limits the load on the cell by automatically reducing maneuvers that are extremely stressful to the structure to tolerable values without the pilot’s intervention.
The front cockpit has three colored multifunction displays and head-up displays. The rear cockpit comprises four MFDs, with the HUD being dispensed with in order to be able to display TV and radar images for the precise guidance of air-to-surface weapons. The data of the front HUD can also be displayed for training purposes.
A radar warning receiver, an infrared sensor and a laser warning warn of attacks. The countermeasures include decoy launchers. There is also a facility for simultaneous passive target assignment on two Ch-31P anti-radar missiles. Depending on the application, the system can be supplemented by a broadband radar interference canister, which can detect and disrupt more than 100 different emitters at the same time.
The Klimow RD-33MK and RD-33MKB engines are currently used in the MiG-35. The RD-33MKB engines have a thrust vector control, which has already been successfully tested with the MiG-29M-OWT. The MiG-29M-OWT thus demonstrated astonishingly high maneuverability and was able to demonstrate impressive flight maneuvers at the ILA 2006 in Berlin.
However, it is unclear whether the thrust vector control will really be used in the case of series production, since the adaptation of the more powerful Klimow RD-43 engines is also considered possible to counteract the higher overall weight of the machine. The series machines would then receive canards, which would increase maneuverability. But even with the use of the RD-43 engines, the subsequent installation of a thrust vector control would be possible.
In the course of development, the number of external load stations for weapon systems was increased from seven to nine, so that the MiG-35 can carry 6.5 tons of bomb load or eight air-to-surface missiles. Configured as an interceptor or aerial superiority fighter, the MiG-35 can deploy R-73E or R-73M2 missile and R-77 and R-27T medium-range air-to-air missiles. TV-guided air-to-surface missiles Ch-29T and Ch-29TE are available for attacks on ground targets and up to eight containers B-8M1, each with 20 unguided air-to-surface missiles S-8, for close-range attacks.
To combat ground-based air defense, the MiG-35 can carry up to four Ch-31 anti-radar missiles and use two of them simultaneously. Four anti-ship missiles Ch-31A or four Ch-35 can be used against ships. Furthermore, free-falling, TV-guided bombs KAB-500Kr and KAB-500Kr-OD, as well as unguided bombs OFAB-250-270 can be carried.
Fixed armament in the bow
- 1 × 30 mm machine gun Grjasew-Schipunow GSch-30-1 (also GSch-301 or 9A-4071K) with 150 rounds of ammunition
Gun load of 6500 kg at 11 suspension points
Air-to-air guided missile
- 4 × APU-60-1 start rails for each MKB Wympel R-60M (AA-8 “Aphid”), infrared controlled for short distances
- 4 × AKU / APU-470 start rails for one GosMKB Wympel JSC R-27R / ER (AA-10 “Alamo-A”), semi-active radar-steered for medium distances 
- 4 × AKU / APU-470 start rails for one GosMKB Wympel JSC R-27T / ET (AA-10 “Alamo-B”), infrared controlled for medium distances
- 8 × P-72-1D starter rails for one GosMKB Wympel JSC each
- 8 × AKU-170E start rails for one GosMKB Wympel JSC R-77E / RWW-AE-E (AA-12 “Adder”), radar-steered for long distances
Air-to-surface guided missile
- 4 × APU-68UM3 launch rails for one Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC Ch-25MP (AS-12 “bowler”), passive anti-radar guided missile
- 4 × AKU-58M start rails for one GosMKB Wympel Ch-29TE (AS-14 “Kedge-B”), TV-controlled
- 4 × AKU-58M launch rails for one Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC Ch-31P (AS-17 “Krypton”), passive anti-radar guided missile
- 4 × AKU-58M launch rails for one Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC Ch-31A (AS-17 “Krypton”), radar-guided ship target missile
- 4 × launch rails for one Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC Ch-35E “Uran-E” (3M24E or AS-20 “Kayak”), radar-guided ship target missile
Undirected air-to-surface missiles
- 8 × GosMKB Wympel B-8M1 rocket launchers for 20 × unguided S-8 air-to-surface missiles; Caliber 80 mm
- 8 × APU-68UM3 rocket launch rails for an unguided S-24B air-to-surface missile; Caliber 240 mm
- 4 × Region JSC KAB-500Kr (500 kg TV-guided bomb)
- 4 × Region JSC KAB-500-OD (500 kg TV-guided bomb with thermobaric warhead)
- 5 × basalt FAB-500M-62 (100 kg free-fall bomb)
- 5 × ODAB-500PM (500 kg aerosol bomb)
- 5 × basalt OFAB-250-270 (250 kg free-fall bomb)
- 1 × removable PTB-1500 tank for 1500 liters of kerosene
- 2 × removable PTB-2000 tanks for 2000 liters of kerosene for transfer flights
|multi-purpose combat aircraft
|Wing area approx
|minimal (empty mass): 286 kg / m²
nominal (normal starting mass): 417 kg / m²
maximum (max. starting mass): 560 kg / m²
|Empty weight approx.
|Normal starting mass
|Max. Starting mass
|−3 / + 9g
|at the optimal altitude: Mach 2.3 or 2445 km / h
at sea level: Mach 1.23 or 1511 km / h
|Service peak height
|2000 km (with internal fuel)
3100 km (with three additional tanks)
|Two Klimow-RD-33MK (B) -3M turbofan engines
|with afterburner: 2 × 88.30 kN
without afterburner: 2 × 52.97 kN
|maximum (empty mass): 1.5
nominal (normal starting mass): 1.03
minimum (max.starting mass): 0.77