August 28, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE
Russia has announced that it will use its new (still in development) MiG-35D as the equivalent of the American F-35. This will be the low-end to the high end T-50 (the Russian F-22). The T-50 is no F-22, and the MiG-35D is no F-35.
The MiG-35D is a considerably redesigned MiG-29. The 29 ton MiG-35D is armed with one 30mm autocannon and can carry over (by how much is not yet clear) five tons of bombs. The big selling point for the MiG-35D is its offensive and defensive electronics, as well as sensors for finding targets on land or sea. This stuff looks very impressive on paper, but the Russians have long had problems getting performance to match promises.
The 27 ton American F-35 is armed with an internal 25mm cannon and four internal air-to-air missiles (or two missiles and two smart bombs), plus four external smart bombs and two missiles. All sensors are carried internally, and max weapon load is 6.8 tons. The aircraft is very stealthy when just carrying internal weapons. The MiG-35D has little stealth capability. The MiG-35D first flew four years ago, and there are currently about ten prototypes being used for testing and development work. The MiG-35D is expected to enter service some time before the end of the decade. The MiG-35D will sell for less than half what the F-35 goes for (currently over $120 million each).