​Lacking in Aircraft, russia Wants to Buy Several MiG-35 for Parades

russian MiG-35 / Open source illustrative photo
russian MiG-35 / Open source illustrative photo

What else the russians can do with a fighter so unpopular that even India didn't want to buy it despite long-lasting defense cooperation

When the Kremlin canceled the aircraft part of the main military parade on May 9 for the second year in a row, media analysts put forward two explanations. Either aircraft losses in the war against Ukraine were so high that russians simply had no planes to show in the skies above the Red Square, or the Kremlin decided the appearance of combat aircraft in this situation would be a bad idea in terms of propaganda.

Against this background, russian media remembered the reports published in February 2023 about russia's plans to procure several MiG-35 fighters specially for the aerobatic teams engaged in parades.

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Assembling of a MiG-35 at the russian United Aircraft Corporation (UAC / [OAK] in russian)

More specifically, in the outlines of the Aero India 2023, chairperson of the russian United Aircraft Corporation Yury Slyusar stated that "over the past years, the russian 'aerospace forces' received six MiG-35 fighter jets in total, including the ones intended for aerobatic teams."

MiG-35 on an exhibition
MiG-35 on an exhibition / Open source photo

There would be no supplies in 2023, allegedly because the UAC managed to complete MiG-35 production faster than expected, but there will be more of these jets coming in the next few years. These will certainly enter service with aerobatic teams, and maybe some join the ranks of combat units, too.

In this manner russians de-facto admitted their "one-of-its-kind" MiG-35 is nothing but an aircraft only for show. Even though they positioned this multirole fighter as a cheaper analog of the American F-16 Block 70/72, a new stage of MiG-29 development with a 50% increased combat radius and a wide range of smart weapons to choose from during missions.

Especially after the failed attempts to sell this aircraft to Argentina and and even India – despite its time-tested partnership with russia and multiple joint defense projects.

russian MiG-35
russian MiG-35 / Open source illustrative photo
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