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SOURCE: DIGAMBAR THAKUR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

In Russia’s premier international air show MAKS 2017, Russian defence ministry is finally started to think beyond Mig-35 and Pak-fa to remain relevant in global demand for new fighter jets and have finally revealed plans to pursue development of Four new fighter jets which will be able to replace older Russian supplied jet and also met changing advancement in fighter jet while remaining lighter on the operators pocket .

Mig Corporation seems to have taken the lead and already has started working on Mig-31 replacement aircraft which will continue to rely on its Superior Mach Number to defeat all known Surface to Air defence systems. Since Mig-31 can hit Mach 3 when required, new replacement aircraft is rumored to be Mach 4-5 capable and will use its speed and high altitude operation ability to remain technical relevant in an era of Stealth age.

Mig Corporation along with UAE is already developing a Mig-35 derived which will have elements in it. Since the new fighter jet will be based on Mig-35 it can be assumed that Stealth elements like Weapons bay door along with Radar cross section measures will be used to achieve semi-stealth aircraft loaded with 5th generation avionics and weapons.

Using the same basic airframe, Mig Corporation is mulling development of Single-engined semi-stealth aircraft derived from Mig-35, since the aircraft in question is still at pre-concept stage it will be too early to comment on proposed new fighter jets but since Mig Corporation will get it ready in next 5-7 years suggests internal study has been done long ago and it is only moving to final design stage now.

At MAKS 2017, Russia also confirmed that it is considering the development of short takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) fighter based on its 90’s Yakovlev Yak-41 technology which was later adopted by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with Yakovlev design bureau in the development of its F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant.

Conclusion

India clearly has been drifting away from Russian camp and has rejected Russia’s offer on Mig-35 and has become non-committal on the development of FGFA 5th generation fighter jet with Russia based on Pak-Fa. Russia has been trying to keep India in its fold but inroads made by America in its last strong hold will see Russia pursuing India with renewed push with joint collaboration on new jets, India needs to keep an open mind and if offered then will need to evaluate before jumping into American bandwagon with deals for Single and Twin engined fighter jets for over 200 jets .

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