Russia to display MiG-35 fighter at Aero India

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russia will showcase its MiG-35 advanced jet fighter, a contender for an Indian combat jet order, at an upcoming air show in India, an official from Russia’s state arms exporter has said.

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Aero India-2009, which will be held in Bangalore Feb 11-15, is one the largest aerospace shows in the Asia-Pacific region, hosting leading manufacturers, vendors and suppliers from 35 countries.

“The MiG-35 will certainly make several demonstration flights after its presentation on the first day of the air show. We would like it to show its best features,” said deputy director of Rosoboronexport Viktor Komardin.

Six major aircraft makers – Lockheed and Boeing from the US, Russia’s MiG, which is part of the UAC, France’s Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and the EADS consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies – are in contention to win the $10 billion tender for 126 jet floated by the Indian Air Force.

Komardin reiterated that the MiG-35 has excellent chances to win the tender because the Russian aircraft has superb performance characteristics and Russia and India share a long-standing partnership in strategic and military-technical cooperation.

“The MiG family is well-known in India. Our Indian partners have production and maintenance facilities ready to produce parts for our aircraft,” the official said.

The existing Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation programme until 2010, lists up to 200 projects worth about $18 billion.

India is a key buyer of Russian weaponry, with contracts including the delivery of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier with at least 16 MiG-29K Fulcrum-D fighters, the Smerch multiple-launch rocket system, and licensed production of T-90 tanks in India.

In March, Russia signed a contract with the Indian defence ministry to upgrade around 70 MiG-29 fighters, in service since the 1980s, and agreed to develop a fifth-generation fighter together with India.

Russia’s MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F) is a highly manoeuverable air superiority fighter, which won high acclaim during the Le Bourget air show in France last year.

The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines that provide superior manoeuverability and enhance the fighter’s performance in close air engagements.

Moscow said if MiG-35 wins the tender, Russia is ready to transfer all key technology to India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and provide assistance for the production of the aircraft in the country.