The Next Best Thing to an F-35?: Check Out Russia's 'New' MiG-35

Mark Episkopos

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The video might just say it all. 

The Next Best Thing to an F-35?: Check Out Russia’s ‘New’ MiG-35

With Russia’s MiG-29 nearing the end of its shelf life as Russia’s staple multirole fighter, the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) are taking an increasing interest in its successor: the MiG-35.

For years, its manufacturer has marketed the MiG-35 as a “4++” fighter: “I would say that this is a new plane that surpasses our foreign competitors. In other words, this is a 4++ level plane,” stated Mikoyan General Director Ilya Tarasenko in a recent interview.

Russian President Vladimir Putin echoed this sentiment at a Kremlin conference: “I note that the new multipurpose MiG-35 fighter has enhanced flight and technical characteristics and is equipped with the very latest weapons systems. You know this better than I. It can follow from 10 to 30 targets at once, and can operate over land or sea. This is a genuinely unique and promising aircraft, 4++, you could say, very close to being fifth generation.”

But what exactly does “4++” mean, and is the MiG-35 really a hair’s breadth away from being considered a fifth-generation fighter?

A recent documentary from T24, a Russian state-funded television channel, sheds light on the MiG-35’s capabilities while offering plenty of high-fidelity footage of the plane in action.

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