After cancellation of the deal of purchase and production of 136 French fighters, India was planning to buy only 36 Rafale. However, this deal too is being delayed. The Indian newspaper Economic Times, citing a source in the Defence Ministry of the country, said that the reason for this delay is the high price and disappointment demonstrated by the Indian Armed Forces. It turned out that a number of systems, avionics and weapons, in which India is interested, are not compatible with the Rafale.
At the same time, maintaining of an adequate level of defence capability by India requires an urgent upgrading of the Air Force with advanced combat aircrafts. According to the Indian news agency IANS, the Indian government intends to announce a re-tender for purchase of the Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). In the tender of 2008, which resulted in the selection of the Rafale, the Russian MiG-35 lost only because the aircraft was not under serial production at that time. In addition, India had taken a decision, guided by a desire to diversify its sources of weapon procurement. Moreover, at the foundation of military aviation of the country, there already exist Russian planes — the multipurpose heavy Su-30 MKI's. However, today, the newest Russian fighter, which experts call as a transitional link between the 4 ++ generation and the fifth generation of fighter aircrafts, has got a new chance to fill up the ranks of the Indian Air Force, notes Andrei Fomin, chief editor of "Vzlyot" (The Rise):
"The MiG-35 is a further development of the current generation of the latest versions of the MiG-29, which include the ship-borne MiG-29 K / KUB and land-based version of the MiG-29M. This development is associated with a more advanced avionics systems, including the latest generation of radars, new optical-electronic systems, new means of radar countermeasures, more modern weapons. While maintaining great aerodynamic flight characteristics, the aircraft has acquired fundamentally new capabilities."
The MiG-35 belongs to the same class and generation of combat aircraft as the French Rafale and the German Eurofighter Typhoon. However, the Russian aircraft is planned to be equipped with more modern and sophisticated avionics systems and weapons.
Russia Ready to Offer India Su-30MKI, MiG-35 Fighter Jets to Replace French Rafales
Main advantage of the Russian aircraft for the Indian Air Force is its continuity in design, features of flight operations and maintenance services. Pilots and technicians of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy are familiar with modern modifications of the MiG-29. Indian experts are actively involved in the modernization that is being carried out in the Indian Air Force of the earlier versions of the MiG-29 — in the UPG program, which brings these aircrafts to aircrafts of the latest generation, Andrei Fomin notes:
"India has never procured the Eurofighter in the past. It will have the Rafale aircraft only if implementation of the planned transaction on the purchase of 36 aircrafts takes place. These new aircrafts will require retraining of pilots, retraining of the technical staff and a new organization of technical maintenance procedures — that is, many challenges are likely to arise. If India prefers to procure the MIG-35, no such difficulties will arise. The numbers of the MiG-29's of various modifications in the Air Force and Navy in the country are large enough, and all the complex issues of service and maintenance of these aircrafts have already been worked out."
Another important fact of the armed forces' economy goes in favor of the modern Russian aircraft. According to Russian experts, cost per flight hour of the MiG-35 is almost 2.5 times lower than that of the MiG-29. Other details of the latest Russian medium combat fighter aircraft will be available to potential buyers at the International Aviation and Space Salon — MAKS-2015. It is scheduled to begin on the 25th of August.