Russian design bureau RSK MiG has upped the stakes in India’s 126-aircraft lightweight fighter contest by announcing its intention to offer a production variant of the MiG-29OVT demonstrator that debuted at last August’s Moscow air show. Dubbed the MiG-35, the new design will be offered in response to a request for proposals to be released by New Delhi late this month or in early 2006, says RSK MiG director general Alexey Fedorov.

The proposed MiG-35 variant, which supersedes an earlier RSK MiG offer to India of the MiG-29M2, would be equipped with the MiG-29OVT’s RD-33MK all-axis thrust-vectoring engines, an active phased-array radar and have an airframe life of 6,000h. “We have delivered documents to India and are optimistic about the results of this tender,” says Fedorov. The design is expected to face competition from the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Mirage 2000, Lockheed Martin F-16, Saab Gripen and, potentially, the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon to replace MiG-21s.

Meanwhile, RSK MiG expects to begin flight tests of the Indian navy’s first of 12 MiG-29K single-seat and four MiG-29KUB two-seat carrierborne fighters in the first quarter of next year, says Fedorov. To be delivered between 2007 and 2009, the aircraft could be followed by another 30 MiG-29K/KUBs from 2010-15 under an existing option.

Slovakia’s 12 MiG-29s will be re-delivered next year following their upgrade to the enhanced SMT standard by RSK MiG.

Source: Flight International