The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly deferred the planned procurement of 37 MiG-35 Fulcrum multirole fighter aircraft for the national air force until 2016.
Originally scheduled to be signed with MiG in June this year, the RUB37bn ($1.1bn) purchase agreement had to be postponed due to some necessary spending cuts within state arms programmes, Kommersant reports.
An unnamed MoD source was quoted by the news agency as saying that the contract could not initially be issued due to delays in drawing up the design.
”At the same time as that was going on, we received a proposal from the Finance Ministry to delay spending until 2016 part of the funds allocated within the state arms program for 2014-2016,” the source stated, noting that the number of aircraft remain unchanged.
The MoD will, however, award a contract to MiG for the supply of MiG-29SMT fighter aircraft, in an effort to keep the company afloat following postponement of the MiG-35 procurement, according to the source.
The company will have three years to perfect MiG-35’s design and prepare its smooth transition to mass production, while simultaneously collaborating with the MoD on MiG-29SMT, which is already in service with the Russian Air Force.
Classified as a 4++ generation jet fighter by Mikoyan, the MiG-35 is an upgraded variant of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB aircraft, and is designed to conduct independent multirole missions.
Powered by two RD-33MKB engines, the aircraft features enhanced avionics and weapon systems, including the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and is fully compatible with local and foreign-origin weapons applications and an integrated variety of defensive systems.
Additional components include air-to-air and air-to-surface guided missiles, as well as an optical locator system (OLS), which reduces dependence on ground-controlled interception (GCI) systems.
Image: An MiG-35 fighter aircraft on display at the 2009 MAKS Airshow. Photo: courtesy of Sergey Vladimirov.