The American magazine The National Interest continues a series of sofa battles to gain dominance in the air. This time, a Russian MiG-35 fighter jet was chosen as a sparring partner of the two main American fighter jets, Lockheed/Boeing F-22 Raptor and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
The author of the publication examines in detail the merits of the Russian aircraft, which belongs to the generation of 4. This means that by some characteristics it still falls short of the fifth generation. For example, stealth technologies are not fully utilized in their design. It has only a coating of radio-absorbing material. But the designers used an existing glider belonging to the MiG-29 fighter family, which is not “licked” in order to achieve maximum dispersal in the space of radio waves emitted by enemy radar.
The aircraft does not reach the part of the flight at supersonic speed in a forceless mode, which is characterized by much lower fuel consumption than when operating a fast-moving camera. And that’s probably it. The rest fits well with the concept of fifth-generation aircraft. And the most important of the “everything else” is the efficiency of on-board electronic equipment and weapons.
It must be said that of the two American aircraft with which the MiG-35 is fighting in the pages of The National Interest, only the F-22 can be unequivocally considered a fifth-generation fighter. The F-35 has the same problem for supersonic flight. In this mode, he falls short, as all experts unanimously believe, to the speed of 1.2 M, which is specified in its official characteristics. For example, it has not been possible to create internal compartments for large-volume weapons. The fighter’s strike potential is small.
More needs to be said about agility. The Americans say that maneuverability does not play a significant role in fifth-generation fighters. However, the F-35 has it, as it is called, below the plinth. That is, in close combat, this plane is a notorious corpse. It is not clear why it was equipped with a cannon, which can be used only at short distances.
Lockheed Martin also claimed the PR of the aircraft at 0.001 sq m. experts only have a skeptical smile. When analyzing the profile of the front hemisphere f-35, you get a much larger EPR. It must be said that in terms of the scam with this characteristic, Lockheed Martin has already been grabbed by the hand this year. However, this was due to the “Raptor” – F-22, which ePR was indicated at the level of 0.0001-0,0002 sq.m. So it has to be an absolute invisible. However, earlier this year, a screen display of the Su-35C sighting system came from Syria, which clearly shows the F-22. There was a scandal, but it soon dissipated naturally, due to the crash of the Japanese F-35 over the Pacific Ocean.
It must be said that the National Interest, analyzing the combat capabilities of the MiG-35 fighter, treats it with more respect than the native Ministry of Defense, which ordered the aircraft in completely homeopathic quantities. At the same time, the “competent authorities” are strenuously introducing the idea that this aircraft has excellent export potential, so let the RSK MiG drive it abroad in as many large series.
But Americans are seriously wondering what the results of a collision in the air MiG-35 with F-22 and F-35. And they note the dignity of the on-board radar “Beetle-A” with an active phased antenna grille. Its characteristics are disclosed to the minimum. It is known that the radar detects fourth-generation fighters with 5 sq m EPR. 200 km away. Accompanying 30 targets, simultaneously shelling 10. The mapping capacity is 1/1 meter.
At the beginning of this decade, the MiG-35 dropped out of the tender for India’s purchase of more than a hundred fighter jets for its air force. However, it was not a current aircraft and its semi-finished aircraft with significantly weaker characteristics. One of the main claims to that car was the lack of engine thrust. Now the engine is new, that is, modernized, the MiG-35 significantly increased traction. The strengthening of the engine also contributed to the improvement of maneuverable qualities. And the fighter has a great potential for this characteristic. There is a new engine modification with a deflected traction vector that can be delivered to the customer as an additional option. But the current engine is enough for the MiG-35 to have a significantly higher chance of winning the melee with both American fifth-generation aircraft.
However, the meeting of the planes takes place at a long distance. And the launch of a long- or medium-range missile is carried out by the aircraft that will be the first to notice the enemy. And, it would seem, a stronger position here on the side of the “Americans”, whose EPR is still smaller than that of the MiG-35.
But it is a purely “sofa” tactic of conducting air battles when two lone planes meet in sterile airspace. Planes make group flights. On the ground can be located radars of anti-aircraft missile systems or radio-technical troops. DRLIOIU aircraft may be in the air. And in such a situation, when detection and targeting radars exchange information with fighters, as well as fighters information support each other, the role of individual invisibility is significantly reduced. And yet – the exchange of information and the interaction of combat units is an integral feature of the fifth generation of fighters, and other modern military equipment.
So we can assume that a much more significant role in the air battles of the near future will play not the individual invisibility of aircraft, but the quality of missile weapons and the ability to repel a missile attack.
The MiG-35 is equipped with a long-range R-37M air-to-air missile. Its range reaches 300 km. The Americans also have an AIM-120D missile with a range of 180 km. That is, the MiG-35 can launch this missile, receiving external targeting, because its own radar will not see the enemy at such a distance. At the same time, it will be extremely difficult to dodge it – with a congestion capacity of 22 g, the rocket develops a speed of up to 6 M. The speed of the American missile is significantly less – 4 g.
The MiG-35 also has an R-77 medium-range missile. Its range and speed are less than 110 km and 4.5 M. But the congestion capacity is higher – about 30 g.
If long- and medium-range missiles have an active homing radar head, short-range missiles are equipped with thermal GSN. We use the R-73 missile, the “Americans” – AIM-9X Sidewinder. Missiles are roughly the same in capabilities, although they have different steering systems. The overloading capacity of both is about 40 g. But, as mentioned above, maneuverability is of great importance in a close encounter of fighters. So the advantage should be on the side of the MiG-35.
But agility also plays a role in evading long- and medium-range missiles. The F-22 has a pretty good deal here.
But missile defense also uses electronic warfare equipment. Against missiles with thermal GSN, it is ineffective. But when attacking medium- and long-range missiles with ARL GSN, EW systems are able to lead the missiles aside. The possibilities of such complexes are always secreted. But they can be indirectly judged by the development of military radio equipment in Russia and the United States. It is widely recognized, on both sides of the Atlantic, that the Russians have made much more progress in EW technology than the Americans.
The National Interest ultimately does not undertake to determine the winners in the battle of our fighter with the American. It seems to us that the capabilities of the F-22 and MiG-35 are roughly equal. The F-35s have lower. Right Australian expert Dennis Jensen, who said the U.S. by offering its long-time strategic partners an F-35 fighter instead of an F-22, is like a motorcycle seller who offers a scooter to the buyer.