Why IAF rejected MiG 35 Fulcrum F
Many in the social media claiming that the MiG 35 is the better low cost option to ramp up the number of fighter jets in Indian Air force, without knowing the actual reason behind why IAF didn't said any words about MiG 35. Russian fighters are good, but not suits for modern Indian requirements. The air fighting evolved since years that dog fighting replaced with long range BVR missiles.
During the initial days of MMRCA evaluation, IAF rejected American F 16 and Swedish Gripen as a reason of single engine. the first lesson for the contenders that IAF clearly looking the modern fighter should fight in the dense condition, even if the IR guided missiles burst the engine, the fighter need to be return to base without being crashed.
During evaluations, MiG 35 was forced out, without even tested by IAF in many conditions, This is recently declassified by the MiG CEO, which was published in IDRW . This due to some reasons, one is during the evaluation trails two MiG 29's crashed in Russia, which forced all MiG 29 grounded. This issue also well addressed by live fist in early 2010. The detailed information explained by Shiv aroor and posted in Livefist .
The IAF's intentions is clear, that they don't want the MiG platforms so the Russian planes. This due to the IAF's serious discussion after the evolving ground threats and need of good close air support platform. Here many think dumb bombs can easily worked out. However this is not true, A fighter needs to be visually identifies the ground target before dropping bombs.
The Americans and the Western fighters doing this since decade after learning lessons in Gulf war. Pakistan and China has massive number of mobile platforms like Artillery's and Tanks. A good fighter with loads of LGB can only stop the enemy's offensive platforms.
The MiG or the Su 35 can't do this. Russians has different operating procedure, their main objective is defend the Russian air space from enemy fighters and provide air cover to the ground troops. The reason why Russia using so many Fighter jets and interceptors and operating very less number of ground attack jets like Frogfoots.
The Indian air force expanded it's capabilities from defensive mission into air offensive and close air support. Currently India has enough number of such fighter aircraft's. 300 of Su 30 MKI and another 60 MiG 29 UPG is enough for such mission. More over Indian air space is heavily guarded by long range missiles like Barak ( upcoming ) and Akash SAM systems. So the Indian air space is well protected by those layered defensive networks.
Those SAM's has highest availability rate and operating costs too very low, compared to a fighter jet. The Europeans are more smart in this field that they understand in the SAM theory, so they moved into multi role fighter jets and deploying more SAM systems.
The IAF is so happy with the usage of western fighter jets like Jaguar and Mirage 2000 and planned to keep those fighters upto 2030. those fighters are very good in precision bombing missions. they were upgraded and can provide close air support to the ground units in anytime, day night and any tough weather conditions.
Here too the Russian fighters do carry such precision guided munitions. But they were so costlier and they can't fly very low to drop those bombs. IAF can equip sixteen LGB's in a western platform with the cost of single MiG 29 or Su 30 MKI armed with one Kh 25 missile. hardly the Russians using the Missiles for precision strike and West uses bombs.
The Russians too tried GLONASS guided bombs, which is combat proven in Syrian civil war. However they were never comes closer to the western PGM's accuracy. PGM used to hit stationary targets, while LGB used to strike mobile targets. for both LGB and PGM, west uses Bombs, Russia uses Missiles for moving targets, and uses guided bombs for stationary targets.
Lets assume a mission, a friendly forces operating with several armors and infantry units surrounded by large enemy column. The Infantry man calls for an close air support mission and the location also identified. Fighter jets are usually very fast, they can cross some 400 kmph at minimum speed, The battle is encircled at some five square kilometers.
So the hard job for the Fighter jet is to identify the enemy targets, and escape from MANPAD threats. Usually two to eight fighter jets assigned to perform the task. So these fighter jets must be equipped with modern sensor suites to defeat the MANPAD threats and modern EO systems to identify the enemy targets in the grounds.
As one more the enemy targets are highly mobile, and they were close to the friendly units. One hard thing should be understand everyone, that our ground troops ill equipped to mark the enemy troops, the recent acquisition of multi purpose binoculars are the only option to laze the enemy target and directly feed into the fighter jets mission computer.
Once the identification acquired from the ground troops they cross check the info by checking their own. for that they need to be fly low and slow. Few fighter jets are performed this mission, like Tornodo, F 15, F 18 and the Rafale. Hardly no Russian jets can perform such mission. they hits many stationary objects in Syria, but no identities of mobile targets. US on the other side performed some good mission by destroying many mobile targets and convoy's.
India is not going to fight against militia or poorly equipped army's, India needs to fight against two modern army's even in tough terrain condition. So CAS will be achieved with modern multi purpose fighters like Rafale. not the air superiority fighters like MiG 29 or 35.