According to Veteran Indian Air Force (IAF) Pilot Sameer Joshi, IAF has decided to go for a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar version called Zhuk-A/AM for the 21 Mig-29UPG which India plans to buy from Russia when Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit India in October for the annual bilateral summit between the two countries.

IAF which already operates 67 Mig-29A brought in 1984 has now upgraded them to the latest MiG-29UPG standard which comes with New Zhuk-ME Radar and with new enhanced RD-33 series 3 turbofan engines with a host of other avionics and capability upgrades and it assumed that IAF will go for the same avionics and configuration for the 21 Mig-29UPG which it plans to procure from Russia.

Phazontron-NIIR developed Zhuk-A/AM AESA Radar has over 1,000 solid-state transceiver-receiver modules. According to Phazontron-NIIR, the Russian Air force has opted for the same radar for their MiG-35 is to be equipped with Phazotron Zhuk-A/AE AESA radar that offers a wide range of operating frequencies, providing better resistance to electronic countermeasures (ECMs), extended detection range, and more air and ground targets detected.

Defense analyst Ranesh Rajan reacting to the news told that Zhuk-A/AE AESA radar at an ideal power rating of 10 Watts/channel has demonstrated a search range over 250km which is more than that of N011M radar (used in Su-30MKI) which at a peak power rating of 6.5 Watts/channel has search range over only 200km. Zhuk-A/AE AESA radar at a higher peak power rating of 15 Watts/channel can search for a 300km range.

Zhuk-A/AE AESA radar might be also considered for the Entire 200 Sukhoi-30UPG Standard upgrade planned by India and Russia for the current Sukhoi-30MKI fleet but it needs to be seen if Russians will agree to provide Zhuk-A/AE AESA radar since Mig-35 is also in the race to provide India 114 jets and supply of Radar might take one key advantage for them said, Rajan.

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