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Why Does Russia Need The Mig-35S When They Already Have The Su-35S?

The Mig-35 is an advanced development of the MiG-29. This is the version that deserves to be considered the best of the Fulcrum family.

The Mig-35S is equipped with modern avionics systems, integrated electronic ωɑɾʄɑɾε equipment, and 10 hard points. The fighter possesses super maneuverability, powered by 3-dimensional thrust vector engines. The MiG-35 is considered the world’s best multi-role fighter for all missions.

The Su-35, known as the elite Sukhoi 4++ generation fighter, is also a super maneuverable aircraft. The single-seat and two-engine aircraft is a derivative of the famous Su-27 heavy fighter. While both the fighter jets, the MiG-35, and the Su-35, deploy similar technologies, the two are different in their fundamental designs. Although an assessment of their capabilities and key differences can provide insight into the nature of both programs and their possible futures.

According to Russian military experts, the heavy Flanker is needed to escort long-range bombers, to attack strategic locations deep in enemy territory, as well as to break through fortified air defense areas. In turn, the purpose of fighters like the MiG-35S is to deploy it closer to the frontlines. On the other hand, the Mig-35 is the most preferred fighter to carry out air ᴄᴏᴍʙᴀᴛs, aerial reconnaissance, striking surface targets and providing support to troops and forces at land.

The Su-35 is designed with intent and mission to gain air superiority thereby capable of spotting and destroying targets at air and ground. With the help of Irbis-E radar, the range of detection is over 400km and can damage up to 30 airborne targets simultaneously. The MiG-35, employs the first active electronically canner array radar (AESA) which is more sophisticated and lighter than Irbis-E. Despite this, the Su-35 is preferred as it has an edge over MiG-35 in situational awareness.

The export potential of the MiG-35S is enormous with its asking price of only $45 million. By comparison, the F-16 with a similar configuration, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale will cost $68M, $75M, $120M and $130 million, respectively.