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Engines and radar to blame for MiG-35 failure in MMRCA contest

Radar and engine performance shortcomings were to blame for the MiG-35 failing to make the shortlist in India's medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest.

The revelations are contained in feedback from India to Russia's arms export agency, Rosoboronexport.

The MiG-35's radar, the Zhuk-MAE active electronically scanned array (AESA), from Russia's Phazotron, failed to achieve the required acquisition and tracking ranges. And its Klimov RD-33MK engines also fell short of the Indian performance criteria.

Speaking to the media on 3 August, Vladimir Barkovsky, chief of MiG's engineering centre, said: "The Klimov and Chernyshev [engine companies] briefed [India] at length about their capabilities and intentions to improve their offering, but unfortunately their arguments were not taken into account."

Despite this, the same RD-33MK met Indian navy requirements and powers the newly-built MiG-29K/KUB fighters being delivered to the service.

Barkovsky also defended the Zhuk-MAE AESA radar, pointing out that the prototype nature of the model fitted to the MiG-35 meant that it did not meet the tender specifications, particularly regarding range.

He said: "We told the tender committee that this particular unit is experimental, and that in future we will make a larger radar antenna [capable of being used at a longer range]."

Barkovsky pointed out that the Eurofighter Typhoon is yet to be fitted with a working AESA radar.

"While the Russians demonstrated their radar fitted to the real fighter and working, [Eurofighter] demonstrated their radar on a helicopter," he said.

"The positive outcome of the Indian tender is that we made a huge effort on the radar development and demonstrated what nobody expected of us, and thus surprised many, including some in our home country," Barkovsky added.

The company will continue the MiG-35 project, he said, and look for other export customers.

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