SOURCE: ASHOK VERMA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Russian officials are again gearing up to offer its ultra modern 4.5++ Generation Mig-35 to India soon. Souped up Mig-29 in new Avtaar does share design cues from its older sibling but Internally it is completely new beasts and can brag of being among best 4.5++ Generation fighter jet presently available.
With over 100 + Mig-29 variants in operation fleet of both Indian air force and Indian navy, Mig-35 should have been an obvious choice for India but that clearly is not the case with Mig-35 due to troublesome Mig-29 service history with India.
Mig-29A which was first acquired by India for India air force in mid 80’s suffered from low operational Availablity for a long time due to the collapse of the Soviet union and also due several issues with Klimov RD-33MK after burning turbofans used on the jets.
Localisation of the Mig-29A and famous Indian Jugaad was the reason why Indian air force was able to make a turnaround in operational Availablity of the jets before it could reach respectable service availability figures of 60%. It took nearly two decades to achieve this operational availability figure with a lot of time and effort put in by various agencies and air force crew.
When Mig-29K Carrier variant was offered to Indian Navy with much more advanced avionics and weapons, it was expected that History will not repeat its self and India will get an aircraft which will be able to meet high standards required to fly from aircraft carriers , but recent CAG report again has exposed poor serviceability of the jets and frequent breakdowns of parts way before there service interval .
India falling for Russian marketing gimmick for the third time is simply not going to happen, Russia instead should have offered India some other projects which could allow some level of westernization of the jet along with Indian developed weapons and sensors.