Global Security Headlines

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, reports exhibition of the MiG-35 (Fulcrum F) at Aero India 2009 on February 11-15, 2009 at Yelahanka, Bangalore, India.

The largest air show in south Asia allows Russia to showcase its Multirole Front-Line Fighter offering an extremely maneuverable, all-axial deflected vectored thrust "DTV" engine which first debuted in 1999.

Speaking of maneuverability, Russia was the first to master real thrust vectoring and build it into a serving combat aircraft design: the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, which uses single-axis or up-and-down vectoring.

The move comes as India contemplates buying 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) in a multi-billion dollar deal (largest since early 1990s) to replace its ageing MiG-21 aircraft.

India and Russia share a 50 year military relationship. The Indian military is full of Russian aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and tanks.

Attractive Options

The MiG-35 is an attractive option for New Delhi. Along with improvements in keeping maintenance costs lower, the MiG-35 also comes with "modern glass cockpit designed with three 6x8 inch flat-panel LCDs and full HOTAS controls, digital map, helmet-mounted sight."

The latest Zhuk-AE active electronically scanning array (AESA) is "one of the most important, if not the most important development in radar technology since the 1940s."

The MiG-35 builds on the MiG-29 which India flies about 65. Ease of part acquisition, training, etc. favor the acquisition of the MiG-35s over the US F/A-18s and/or F-16s.

In Sum

India's multidirectional international policy engages the major powers on a somewhat equal basis from China to Russia to the United States. As India develops as a major world power in its own right, its arms purchases from 1998 to 2005 topped all of the developing world.

The US would like to cultivate an arms supplier relationship as close as Russia's with India.

However, it appears unlikely as New Delhi's expected green light to Moscow on the MiG-35 will demonstrate.

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