Tag Archives: Putin

New MiG-35 “Fulcrum Foxtrot” Demonstrated For Putin and Foreign Market

MiG-35 Demo is Both Product Debut and Contrast of Russian and Western Doctrine in the F-35 Era.

In a widely publicized event on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (MiG) parented by United Aircraft Corporation officially demonstrated the new MiG-35 to the Russian government. A subsequent demonstration for export customers was carried out today Jan. 27.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reported to have viewed the first demonstration via remote video due to poor weather in the region.

The new MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: “Fulcrum Foxtrot”) is a greatly upgraded aircraft based on the earlier MiG-29 airframe. Significant upgrades on the MiG-35 include a completely new fly-by-wire flight control system, vastly improved cockpit, substantially upgraded avionics and an overall design philosophy that provides an enhanced degree of operational autonomy on the MiG-35 compared to earlier Russian combat aircraft. The MiG-35 will also integrate precision-guided targeting capability for air-to-ground weapons, a rarity in previous Russian air-ground doctrine.

The MiG-35 unveiled on Jan. 27, 2017.

There is a significant engine upgrade on the new MiG-35. The aircraft uses two impressive Klimov RD-33OVT engines fitted with bi-directional thrust vectoring nozzles. This contrasts aircraft like the current Russian Su-35 and the U.S. F-22 Raptor that only use single-axis vertical thrust vectoring.

This marks a fascinating departure from previous Soviet-era combat aircraft capabilities while retaining the Russian penchant for lower unit cost in exchange for numerical superiority, a doctrine that has pervaded Russian military thinking for the entire century.

The Russians have always traded unit capability for numerical superiority, relying on the hope that quantity would beat quality in a major conflict. Interestingly, this doctrine has shifted moderately toward a centrist mix of quality and quantity apparently in search of the best solution for indigenous use as well as attracting export buyers.

The new MiG-35 is an example of this shift.

Russia has included significant sensor and capability upgrades on all recent combat aircraft, especially ones intended for the export market. Additionally, the reported domestic production for MiG-35 is only 37 aircraft, a very small acquisition by older Soviet and even modern Russian standards. A larger production capacity is earmarked for export sales, likely in the form of a 50-unit order from Egypt.

Reports indicate the Egyptian MiG-35s are to be fitted with a new advanced targeting pod, the PPK targeting pod from Precision Instrument Systems. The new PPK thermal imager/TV and laser rangefinder allows the MiG-35 to autonomously guide precision munitions similarly to how the current U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle prosecutes ground targets. Previous Russian doctrine relied heavily on ground vectors to attack targets.

Somewhat interestingly, the indigenous MiG-35 is fitted with a Russian NPK-SPP OLS-K electro-optical targeting system. The OLS-K targeting and surveillance system is mounted directly to the aircraft below the right (starboard) fuselage on the engine nacelle in front of the elevators. It is not a removable pod. The OLS-K sensor can track moving vehicles from 20 kilometers and surface contacts at sea for 40 kilometers. An integrated laser rangefinder computes target distance up to 20 kilometers for weapons employment. There is also laser designation for guided weapons built into the pod.

The OLS-K targeting and surveillance system is mounted on the engine nacelle in front of the elevators

The new MiG-35 provides Russia and export customers with a uniquely scaled precision strike capability that may be a better fit for countries with smaller defense budgets. The MiG-35 contrasts aircraft like the larger (and more expensive) Sukhois. If a client’s ground strike requirements involve shorter range in a tactical rather than strategic setting the MiG-35 may be the right size and cost aircraft.

Given recent problems throughout the Middle East and Africa with managing strike accuracy and reducing the exposure to collateral damage from air strikes this may be an important export asset for Russia and its defense industry clients.

Image credit: Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau





Awesome Footage Brings You Aboard a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker During Air Show over Crimea

The Victory Day Air Show over Sevastopol, Crimea, as seen from inside the Russian Air Force’s “Kubinka Diamond”, the aerobatic team made of  Su-27 Flanker and Mig-29 Fulcrum jets.

On May 9, Russia celebrated the Victory Day (70th anniversary of liberation from Nazi troops) with a spectacular airshow and huge naval parade reviewed by Putin at Sevastopol, in Crimea.

The Naval Parade featured 10 warships including guided missile cruiser “Moskva,” the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship with the highest combat capacity among the ships of its class in the Russian Navy.

According to RT, the “Moskva” was accompanied by the ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) destroyer “Kerch,” ASW corvette “Aleksandrovets,” guided missile hovercraft “Samum” and “Bora,” patrol ship “Pytlivyi,” minesweeper “Vice-Admiral Zhukov,” guided missile corvette R-239, guided missile corvette “Shtil” and a new generation border patrol ship “Zhemchug.”

Dealing with the flypast, about 70 Russian Air Force aircraft of all types flew over Sevastopol bay in different formations. Among the others, the flyover included Mi-28 Havoc and Ka-52 Alligator helicopters, Su-25 Frogfoot attack jets, Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers, and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers.

Even the so-called “Kubinka Diamond”, the Russian Air Force display team made by five Su-27 Flankers of the “Russian Knights” and four Fulcrums of the «Strizhi» (Swifts), took part to the airshow.

The display of the mixed formation of Su-27s and Mig-29s was filmed from inside one of the Flankers, as the following interesting video shows.

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Russia reactivates military airfield in the Arctic Region after 20 years

Earlier in October, Putin stated strongly that Russia would never “surrender” its Arctic area. Indeed, Temp airfield located on Kotelny Island, the largest of Russian islands in Novosiberian region, is being reactivated.

The airfield has been operational beginning in 1949 then, 20 years ago, its activity was suspended, and the infrastructures preserved for future use. Since then, Russian policy towards Arctic has become more aggressive and one of the elements of that policy is to reinstate the aforementioned airfield for Russian Air Force planes.

In 2012, a helicopter crash occured during a Russian specialists’ visit to the island. Nobody died, but the mishap halted the reactivation activities. This year people and equipment were delivered by sea. Back in September an expedition included 150 people, 40 machines and vehicles.

The process of reactivation of the base went fast and, at the end of October, the first An-72 transport landed there. Currently, an air traffic control service is present, along with accomodation, own water supply, a power station and heating. The airfield is not to be a minor one, since it will be able to accomodate landings of planes as large as Il-76 cargos.

Air traffic on Temp is expected to be a regular, year-round and in all weathers.

There are plans to continue the expansion with another airfield, Tiksi, in Yakutsia. It is said that the role of the Arctic bases is to safeguard and serve the Northern Sea Route shipping lane and adjacent Arctic zone.

Image Credit: Yandex.ru

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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