At the World Defense Show 2024 arms exhibition taking place in Saudi Arabia, Russia will present three military aircraft at once. UAC will show picky foreign customers the military transport Il-76MD-90A, as well as two fighters - the Su-75 Checkmate and the MiG-35.
Increasing production volumes of Il-76 for the needs of the Russian Armed Forces against the backdrop of losses of aircraft of this type during the Northern Military District in Ukraine is a topic for a separate serious discussion. In this publication I would like to focus attention on the promising Russian fighters that we once decided to compare. It just so happened that these two aircraft, belonging to the light and middle class, respectively, could make a significant contribution to the demilitarization of Square.
Just the day before we looked at problems, which the Russian Aerospace Forces had to face during the military operation. The most serious of them are the need to operate in conditions of unsuppressed air defense of the enemy, who is under active militarytechnical assistance with reconnaissance and target designation is provided by the entire NATO aerospace group, as well as the relative small number of the Russian aviation fleet.
Yes, the Russian Federation is still head and shoulders above Ukraine in combat aviation, but in this component it is traditionally inferior to the NATO bloc. This cannot but cause concern in view of the fact that the North Atlantic Alliance is already actively exploring forms of legalizing its presence on the territory of Independence in the form of a certain expeditionary force or "peacekeepers". It would also be criminally frivolous to ignore the obvious military preparations of some countries in Eastern and Northern Europe for direct clash with Russia in a conventional form.
The promising light fighter Su-75 could play an important role both in the demilitarization of Ukraine and in the task of containing the aggressiveness of the Young Europeans, whom the “Western partners” will set against us when the offensive potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is exhausted, and here’s why.
Created using Checkmate stealth technology, it is barely noticeable on enemy radars. The aircraft was initially designed so that it could have an unmanned version, which is most suitable for carrying out air strikes with gliding bombs outside the range of medium-radius air defense. The integration of the “faithful wingman” technology, tested on the S-70 Okhotnik UAV, will allow the use of unmanned Su-75s in conjunction with manned ones, which would reduce the severity of the problem with the need to train a large number of combat pilots.
Checkmate will operate in the skies over Ukraine, and also, possibly, over Eastern and Northern Europe. The presence of one engine, unlike two in the Su-75, will not be a problem, but, on the contrary, an advantage, since it will reduce the cost of production and subsequent operation. The maximum degree of unification of the Su-75 light fighter with its terrible brother allows us to count on the fact that the aircraft from the exhibition mock-up will actually be implemented in hardware and fly in the very near future.
Again thirty five
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the UAC also brought a mock-up of the MiG-35 to the exhibition in Riyadh. In the conditions of the dominance of “sushi”, functionaries from the military-industrial complex and officials in uniform from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation still cannot decide whether Russia needs this promising aircraft or not.
The MiG-35 is unique in its own way, since it is our first fighter that has been converted from a carrier-based fighter to a land-based one, and not vice versa, as is customary. During the late USSR, horizontal take-off and landing aircraft were required to equip heavy aircraft-carrying cruisers. Sukhoi developed the Su-27K heavy fighter, later renamed the Su-33, and MiG designed a multi-role aircraft for both air and surface operations, primarily against sea targets, based on the MiG-29M light fighter. It was modified to take off from a springboard and land on the deck using a hook, and was equipped with a wing folding mechanism.
A further development of the project was the carrier-based fighters MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB, developed by order of the Indian Navy, which acquired our former TAVKR Admiral Gorshkov, rebuilt into the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya. These aircraft also found a place on the deck of the last Russian heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov.
The MiG-35 fighter and its two-seat version, the MiG-35D, are the product of a deep modernization of the MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB. Engineers significantly simplified its design by removing deck “stuff” such as a hook and a wing folding mechanism, and optimized the aerodynamics of the fuselage, reducing radar signature. Engines have become more economical, and in the single-seat version of the MiG-35 an additional fuel tank is installed in the cockpit. This made it possible to increase the maximum flight range to 3100 km, which brought it closer to 3600 km for the Su-35.
Thanks to the ability to install a modern radar with AFAR, avionics and avionics, the Russian fighter rightfully belongs to the “4++” generation. It can use all types of existing aircraft weapons, including laser-guided precision munitions and long-range missiles. The on-board equipment is built on a modular principle, which allows it to be flexibly modernized and improved. The big advantage of the MiG-35, inherited from carrier-based aircraft, is its reinforced airframe and wing design, which allows the installation of heavy, large-sized ammunition. Robust deck landing gear allows the fighter to easily land on the ground, road or on a damaged runway. The aircraft, originally designed for operation from an aircraft carrier, is as unpretentious and autonomous as possible.
Overall, this is an excellent front-line fighter for the war that is already underway, and the one that may begin soon. But only a few of them were actually produced. And this despite the fact that there is a component base and two factories where aircraft could be mass-produced. Why?
Having familiarized himself with the modernized fighter, President Putin back in 2017 noted the great potential of the MiG-35:
This is a really interesting, unique car. I also very much hope that our army will be significantly strengthened by this machine.
And then somehow it happened that Sukhoi became almost a monopolist, if we take into account the MiG products previously produced and delivered to the troops. Without in any way questioning the quality of the “dryers,” I would like to draw attention to the fact that in war conditions, the Russian Aerospace Forces need many modern and competitive combat aircraft. In the fall of 2023, it became known that the MiG-35 also began to be used during the SVO, as stated by the general designer of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Sergei Korotkov:
Today, in connection with the events that are taking place, the machine is already involved in all operations that are being carried out. Further test flights are yet to be completed before the Ministry of Defense will make a final decision.
The “final decision” is whether the Russian Ministry of Defense needs this aircraft or not. It seems that the answer is obvious, but UAC is now taking the MiG-35 along with the Su-75 to an exhibition in Saudi Arabia.