Tag: Paris

Poland’s defence chief to hold talks in Paris Today

Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz (UAWIRE)


Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz will travel to Paris today for talks with his French counterpart Florence Parly, against a backdrop of strained relations between the two countries.

The visit followed an invitation from the French defence minister, the Polish ministry said late Tuesday, adding that the two would discuss cooperation and other matters.

French and Polish officials have been trading barbs over President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to overhaul a controversial EU rule on sending workers abroad.

Poland fiercely opposes any change to the so-called Posted Workers Directive, since it would make it harder for thousands of Poles to work elsewhere in the EU.

Last week, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo accused Macron of “trying to introduce protectionism,” dismissing claims from wealthier European countries that the measure creates unfair competition on labour markets.

Poland is also facing the ire of the European Union over concerns about the country’s planned judicial reforms, which the EU says pose a “systemic threat” to the rule of law.



Trump in France: Macron greets US president ahead of talks


French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed Donald Trump to Paris with an official military ceremony.

The US president then visited the tomb of Napoleon ahead of Friday’s Bastille Day celebrations.

The two leaders are expected to discuss joint efforts to combat the so-called Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

The trip is aimed at reaffirming historic ties but comes amid tension following Mr Trump’s recent withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Air Force One touched down at Orly airport in Paris earlier on Thursday; Mr Trump and the First Lady emerging from their flight across the Atlantic in an effort to help strengthen US-France relations.

 “Emmanuel, nice to see you. This is so beautiful,” Mr Trump said as he was met by Mr Macron at the Hotel des Invalides, near the site of the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, the former French military and political leader.

Despite their clear differences, Paris has emphasised that Mr Macron will work to reaffirm historic ties between the two allies to prevent the US from being isolated.

The two presidents reviewed the troops during the ceremony at Les Invalides. AFP/GETTY Images.

Following the ceremony at Les Invalides the leaders moved on to the Élysée Palace.

During the two-day visit, Mr Trump will also dine with Mr Macron at the Eiffel Tower and watch the Bastille Day parade on the Champs-Élysées.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of US forces entering World War One, and for this occasion US and French troops will be marching together in the parade.

Speaking to the BBC, the former US diplomat and state department official, William Jordan, said the visit was likely to be viewed by Mr Trump as an opportunity for the US president to be “taken seriously in the world”.

“I think that there’s a lot of symbolism in this,” he said, adding: “I doubt that there’s going to be very much more beyond substantive discussion.”

The two-day visit is seen as an opportunity to reaffirm US-France relations. Reuters.

Demonstrations are expected to take place during Mr Trump’s visit. French protesters have planned a “No Trump Zone” at the Place de la Republique. The Facebook page for the event states: “Trump is not welcome in Paris”.

Mr Trump’s visit to Paris comes amid fresh allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, with his eldest son admitting he held a “nonsense” meeting that had promised Russian government information about his father’s democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump has since described the mood in the White House as “fantastic” and told Reuters that the administration was “functioning beautifully”.

Source: BBC News.

‘Millions of Africans’ will flood Europe unless it acts now, warns European chief, as Paris evacuates huge migrant camp

Europe is “underestimating” the scale and severity of the migration crisis and “millions of Africans” will flood the continent in the next five years unless urgent action is taken, a senior European official has warned.

The dire prediction from Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, came as Paris evacuated almost 3,000 migrants sleeping rough from a makeshift camp near the city centre – the 34th such evacuation in two years.

In an interview with Il Messagero newspaper, Mr Tajani said there would be an exodus “of biblical proportions that would be impossible to stop if we don’t confront the problem now”.

“Population growth, climate change, desertification, wars, famine in Somalia and Sudan. These are the factors that are forcing people to leave.

“When people lose hope, they risk crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean because it is worse to stay at home, where they run enormous risks. If we don’t confront this soon, we will find ourselves with millions of people on our doorstep within five years.

“Today we are trying to solve a problem of a few thousand people, but we need to have a strategy for millions of people.”

The only solution is massive investment in Africa to dissuade people from leaving in the first place, he said.

Mr Tajani’s sombre forecast came a day after EU interior ministers pledged to back an urgent European Commission plan to help Italy, which has accepted around 85,000 of the 100,000 migrants who have arrived by sea from North Africa this year.

Last month it threatened to close its ports to NGO boats carrying rescued migrants and called on some of the vessels to be sent to ports in France and Spain – a proposal these countries dismissed.

Heavily-armed police descended on the Paris migrant camp to break it up.

The effects of the migrant influx have been felt in Paris, where a makeshift camp of almost 3,000 people was dismantled yesterday morning, with migrants bussed to temporary accommodation in and around the French capital.

The migrants, whose numbers have swollen since the notorious Calais “jungle” was shut last October, had been living around an aid centre in the Porte de la Chapelle area. Set up last November to accommodate 400 people, it soon became swamped by the 200-odd weekly newcomers forced to sleep rough.

Their ballooning numbers raised security and hygiene concerns and caused tensions with locals.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government is expected to announce new measures to cope with the migrant crisis next week.

Jumping the gun, Anne Hidalgo, Paris’ Socialist mayor, issued her own proposals yesterday. These included an “organised spread” of migrants around the country to avoid bottlenecks, increasing the capacity of welcome centres from 50,000 to 75,000 by 2022, and pumping more funds into language and “civic” lessons.

Anne Hidalgo, French Socialist party Paris Mayor.

Most migrants landing in Italy are sub-Saharan Africans who have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya, a journey that has so far claimed more than 2,200 lives this year, according to UN figures.

Their influx has exacerbated tensions with neighbouring Austria, which this week deployed armoured vehicles close to its border with Italy and threatened to send up to 750 soldiers to block any migrants trying to head north.

EU ministers agreed to an “action plan” to provide up €35 million in aid for Rome and beef up the Libyan coastguard, which NGOs accuse of serious rights abuses and even collusion with people traffickers.

Amnesty said it was “deeply problematic” to unconditionally fund and train Libya, which has been teetering on lawlessness since former dictator Mummer Gaddafi was ousted and killed after a Nato-led operation in 2011.

At a separate conference in Rome on Thursday, Italy’s foreign minister Angelino Alfano stressed with a string of African and EU ministers the importance of bolstering Libya’s southern borders to end what he called “the biggest criminal travel agency in history”.


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Liberals limiting options for stopgap fighter jet deal

Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets.

CBCNEWS, By Murray Brewster, 23 June 2017

Talks with the Pentagon about filling the Canadian air force’s short-term need for jet fighters remain on track, said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Those negotiations for a so-called “interim capability” continue despite the Liberal government making a very public display at the Paris Air Show this week of snubbing Boeing executives.

The U.S. aerospace giant’s commercial trade complaint against Montreal-based Bombardier has thrown the military contract into limbo.

Boeing wants trade regulators in Washington to investigate subsidies for Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft, claiming they allow the Canadian company to export planes at well below cost.

The Liberals had intended to purchase 18 Super Hornet fighters — at a potential total program cost of between $5 billion and $7 billion — from Boeing. The deal was supposed to be a stopgap until the government can finalize the purchase of 88 permanent replacements for the aging CF-18 fleet.

After Boeing filed the trade complaint earlier this year, the government broke off contact with the U.S. company and said it was reviewing the “interim” fighter deal. It heightened the rhetoric last month, saying the aircraft maker was no longer the “trusted partner” it had been.

Sajjan said that, regardless of the trade dispute, the urgent requirement for fighters has not gone away and must be filled somehow.

“We’re still continuing our discussions with the U.S. government, making sure that we fill this capability gap,” Sajjan said.

Other options?

If Boeing has been frozen out, what is the Liberal government talking about with the Pentagon?

Sajjan said there are “other options,” but refused to explain what they might be.

There are limited choices for a government-to-government purchase with the U.S. if the Super Hornet has been excluded.

During a recent trip to Singapore, Sajjan met with the CEO of Lockheed Martin, which is eager to sell Canada its advanced, but often maligned, F-35 — a plane the Liberals promised not to buy during the last election.

A defence industry source with knowledge of the file said Lockheed Martin has sent a letter to the Liberal government, expressing interest in providing its jets as the “interim solution.”


Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan unveiled the government’s long-awaited vision for the Canadian Armed Forces last week. The new policy calls for the purchase of 88 new jet fighters but also says the government will continue to explore a stopgap purchase until the full fleet arrives. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Sajjan dismissed the notion of making the stealth fighter the “interim” solution and seemed to place his faith in the trade dispute being settled.

“No, right now for us we need to fill this interim capability gap and keep on with these discussions with the U.S. government on this,” he told CBC News. “We are going to be looking at other options as well. We are looking for this to be resolved by the U.S. Department of Commerce quickly, so we can get back to business.”

During an appearance before the Commons defence committee late Tuesday, the country’s top military commander also dangled that possibility.

“What I would tell you is that, as the minister has said, the option for the Super Hornet is still open,” said Gen. Jonathan Vance.

Referring to Boeing, he said: “They’re a bad partner now. Maybe they [could] become a good partner again.”

New versus used

But if the dispute drags on, it is unclear what the Liberal government can do if both the Super Hornet and the F-35 are ruled out as the gap-filler.

Defence experts have suggested there is a remote possibility the U.S. could sell Canada refurbished F-18s, similar to the current CF-18s.

The Pentagon recently had modernized F-16s on the market, which the Polish air force considered but eventually declined. That would be an even more unlikely fit, since Canada has never flown the single-seat fighters, which were the backbone of the U.S. air force for decades.

The “interim” fleet is meant to fill the gap until the Liberal government decides on a permanent replacement for the CF-18s.

Conservative MP James Bezan, his party’s defence critic, wants the government to proceed to an open competition to buy fighter jets. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

the Liberals are twisting themselves into knots for a temporary solution when they can simply proceed to the open competition they promised for the full fleet.
Sajjan said that is still in the cards, but federal procurement officials have said a competition could take up to five years to run.

“If you look at what other states, other countries are doing in their recent procurement to replace their tactical fighters, none of them are taking five years to do this competition,” Bezan said.
“If you look right now, Denmark is doing theirs in two years; Belgium means to complete theirs right now in 18 months; and just earlier this week, Finland started their F-18 replacement program, and they plan to have their first deliveries in 2021 and the entire fleet replaced by 2025, which coincidentally is the same time that our life extension on our CF-18s run out.”


Russian arms trade agency chief sees continued cooperation in weapons sales

DefenseNews, By Pierre Tran, June 21, 2017

LE BOURGET, France — The world arms market goes through business cycles and the present outlook is stability over the next two to three years, Dmitry Shugaev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Russia’s arms trade agency, said June 20 at the Paris Air Show.

The FSMTC “does not see an upsurge,” he told reporters at the trade show, which entered its second day. Shugaev communicated with an interpreter, but it was clear he understood spoken English.

Foreign sales of aircraft account for 40 to 50 percent of Russian weapons, of which 35 percent are land systems, including ground-based missile defense, and 15 percent naval systems, he said. That split was based on annual Russian arms exports of an estimated $15 billion.

Russia seeks long-term relations with client nations, which no longer buy arms off the shelf but wish to work on technological development and local production, he said. Moscow was ready “to make a better offer.”

Work with India on the BrahMos cruise missile was an example of that cooperative approach. “We’re flexible; we’re ready to cooperate,” he said. The “price/quality ratio” of Russian weapons was high.

In Afghanistan, American pilots have flown Russian military helicopters and found them good, he said.

Vietnam is a strategic partner with Russia, which has cooperated over a long period, and Shugaev said he was “optimistic” for continued cooperation.

Last year, President Barack Obama announced a lifting of the U.S. arms embargo against Vietnam when he visited the southeast Asian nation in May. That easing of a critical trade restriction was welcomed by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, who called it a normalizing of relations between Hanoi and Washington.

China and India are also strategic partners of Russia, Shugaev said, and Moscow would continue to cooperate on developing weapons technology. Russia also has close business ties in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates.

The Western embargo against Russia was contrary to a free market and ran counter to principles of the World Trade Organization, he said. Those sanctions, adopted in response to Russia’s seizing the Crimean region in 2014, have prompted Russian firms to turn to domestic suppliers and were unlikely to buy from former European partners when trade was one day normalized, he said.

There is a real “optimism” that Russia’s share of defense sales will remain high, he said.

F-35A Wows Crowds at Paris Air Show [VIDEO]

Lockheed Martin senior experimental test pilot Billie Flynn flies the F-35A Lightning II. This is the Paris debut of the F-35A model, which is flown by the United States Air Force. Last year, the STOVL-capable F-35B variant made its international airshow debut at the Farnborough Air Show. This F-35A display shows an expanded envelope of the aircraft’s capabilities over the last display.

F-35 Demo Pilot: Paris Performance Will ‘Crush Years Of Misinformation’

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Credit i24News.

Aviation Week, By Lara Seligman, 20 June 2017

Not as agile as the Super Hornet nor as fast as the Typhoon? Don’t you believe it, says Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn. He will put the F-35A through its paces at Le Bourget this week, proving that the aircraft is more maneuverable than any he has flown, he says, including Boeing’s F/A-18, the Eurofighter, and his own company’s F-16 Viper.

“After 10 years since first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,” Flynn said in an interview with Aviation Week.

Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn.

The F-35’s maneuverability is all the more impressive because, unlike the F-16s that perform at air shows, the Joint Strike Fighter flying the demonstration this week is fully combat-ready. Flynn’s F-35A will move easily through complex aerial maneuvers loaded with everything it needs to go to war.

“All of those airplanes that do air shows—the Hornet, Viper—they are all slicked off without all the external stores,” Flynn said. “They are a party trick at an air show, versus a combat-configured F-22 or F-35.”

The flight demonstration is carefully scripted to highlight the kinematic capabilities of the F-35A, particularly its slow-speed handling qualities, said Flynn. He will start with an afterburner takeoff, almost immediately pointing his nose to the sky and letting the aircraft climb away essentially vertically. This impressive move is unique to the F-22 and the F-35, he said.

Billie Flynn aims to silence the skeptics with complex F-35A demo flights at the Paris Air Show.

Next, Flynn will reverse back in front of the crowd, and perform a “square loop” to show the aircraft’s instantaneous pitch capability and high angle-of-attack (AOA) maneuverability. Then he will turn around, reverse back in front of the crowd, and perform a slow-speed, high-AOA pass. Afterward, he will light the afterburner and fly straight up into the sky once again.

From there, Flynn will pull up vertically in front of the crowd and execute a maximum AOA “power loop,” where the aircraft flips on its back—another signature Raptor move. Then he will initiate a spiral at 50 degrees AOA, called a “pedal turn,” which he says will be the most impressive part of the entire routine.

After reversing again in front of the crowd, the last move is a maximum-G, 360-deg. turn, which highlights the maximum-rate, minimum-radius-turn capability of the aircraft, Flynn said. The F-35 in its current 3i configuration is limited to 7g; when the fighter gets its full war-fighting capability with the final 3F software, it will be able to pull 9gs.

“This aircraft down low in this environment is an absolute monster,” said Flynn. ”It is more powerful, it is more aggressive than any of us, including those of us that fly the F-35, would have imagined before we began this flight-demo process.”

The high show does not include the F-35 opening its weapon-bay doors, as the F-22 does during its airshow routine. The low show, which the F-35 will perform if there is inclement weather or cloud ceiling, includes opening the weapon-bay doors, according to Lockheed spokesman Mark Johnson.

Lockheed’s F-35 airshow profile has been in the works for well over a year, according to Flynn. The team has conducted over 800 simulator runs to evaluate the profile, and Flynn began practicing in the aircraft at the company’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, about a month ago.

The company has developed air show routines for all three F-35 variants—the U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant and the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B vertical-takeoff-and-landing variant as well—but this year Flynn is focused on the U.S. Air Force F-35A version.

Flynn had to modify the routine to accommodate airspace restrictions unique to the Paris show, he said. Flying is limited laterally and vertically because of Le Bourget’s proximity to both to the city of Paris and Charles De Gaulle Airport. Flynn is also limited by time—he only has 6 min. for the routine at Le Bourget, where at most air shows he would have 10 min.

“We focused on the ‘wow’ factor and left out the elements of a routine that would be part of a non-Paris-type profile,” Flynn said. “You have to live inside very tight restrictive boundaries, but it still permits us to put on a show that I believe will squelch the critics once and for all.”

So how will the F-35 demonstration compare to the Raptor’s always-impressive routine? It’s very similar, Flynn said.

“We all love what the Raptor can do. I would say the F-35 and the F-22 both put on demonstrations that are unique to our fifth-gen maneuverability,” said Flynn. “But don’t forget, that’s not how we dominate—we dominate because of stealth and sensor fusion.”

The two F-35As from Hill AFB, Utah, arrived at Le Bourget Airport June 13 and will be maintained on-site by Air Force maintainers and security personnel. One aircraft will be flying, and one will be on static display.


PARIS: South African Air Force boosts Gripen availability

SAAB JAS-39D Gripen of the South African Air Force, over Pretoria Green. Credit: Frans Dely.

FlightGlobal, By Jim Winchester, 20 June 2017

South Africa has 19 single-seat Gripen fighters and nine two-seat D-model examples, most of which are operated by 2 Sqn at Waterkloof air base. At least 12 of the aircraft were put into long-term storage in 2013 because of severe budget cuts.

“Reduced funding means less flying, which means your currency level goes down,” Mashaba told the annual meeting of the Swedish Air Force Fan Club in Paris on 18 June. This issue was managed to some extent by flying the remaining aircraft harder, he adds.

“Every country has its ups and downs and has budget cuts,” Mashaba notes. “We have overcome them and we basically have all our Gripens up and running.”

Although South Africa is working towards meeting a target of spending 2% of its GDP for defence spending, the current level is only 0.9%, air force chief of staff Lt Gen Fabian Msimang told FlightGlobal. In 1994 – the year of the first democratic elections in South Africa – defence spending was 2.9%. “But you have to remember that South Africa is a country in development and we have had other priorities,” he adds.

Mashaba says Gripen operating costs are between South African rand (R) 80,000 and R100,000 ($6,300-$7,800) per flying hour.

Lessons learned in introducing the Gripen into SAAF service included not saving money on specialists, especially those in radar and electronic warfare, and involving the squadrons at every stage, says Mashaba, adding: “After all, it’s their aircraft.”

South African Gripens are introducing an indigenous datalink called “Link ZA”, which allows data sharing with the nation’s BAE Systems Hawk 120 lead-in fighter trainers. “We ‘Gripenised’ the Hawk,” says Mashaba. “When you are flying the Hawk, you are able to see the Gripens around you. The stepping stone from Gripen to Hawk is actually much easier.”

Mashaba also outlines a unique role for South Africa’s Gripens in combating rhinoceros poaching. Using their Rafael Litening III targeting pods, Gripens will fly at night in the areas where poachers are known to operate – particularly on the Zimbabwe border – and direct wildlife rangers to their camps.

“They are smart, those guys, they are not stupid, but we find them,” says Mashaba. There are cheaper aircraft to use than Gripens for such an application, he adds, but anti-poaching surveillance is usually combined with other tasks. “And if we do nothing, the rhinos will all be gone,” he notes.



Liberal ministers meet Lockheed Martin at Paris Air Show, snub Boeing

Canadian AF F-35 mock-up. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

CityNews, by Lee Berthiaume and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press, 20 June 2017

OTTAWA – The Trudeau government appears to have given aerospace giant Boeing the cold shoulder in Paris — the latest sign that the Liberal government’s plan to buy Super Hornet fighter jets could be on the rocks.

Three cabinet ministers are in the French capital this week to promote Canada’s aerospace sector and meet various companies at the Paris Air Show, one of the largest such exhibitions in the world.

Those meetings included discussions with Lockheed Martin, which is hoping its F-35 stealth fighter will replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s whenever a competition is launched. Meetings between Canadian officials and three other fighter-jet makers — French firm Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and European consortium Eurofighter — were also scheduled.

Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet. Photo: par le Caporal Jean-François Lauzé, 4e Escadre, Imagerie

But in separate interviews, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said there were no plans to sit down with Boeing officials.
Bains specifically cited Boeing’s complaints to the U.S. Commerce Department about Canadian rival Bombardier as the reason for the snub.

“We think that approach makes no sense, and we’ve been very clear about the fact that we reject those allegations that they’re making,” Bains said by telephone.
“Hence that is why we didn’t engage with Boeing at this stage.”

Boeing also had its invitation to a reception hosted by Canadian Ambassador to France Lawrence Cannon rescinded, said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment.

The government announced last November it would purchase 18 “interim” Super Hornets to fill a critical shortage of fighter jets until a full competition to replace Canada’s entire CF-18 fleet could be run starting in 2019.

The government said at the time that the Super Hornet was the only aircraft able to meet its immediate requirements, including being a mature design compatible with U.S. fighters.
But that was before Boeing lodged a complaint with the U.S. Commerce Department, alleging Quebec-based Bombardier was selling its CSeries jet liners at an unfair price with assistance from federal government subsidies.

American authorities are currently investigating the complaint and are expected to decide in the coming weeks or months whether to penalize Bombardier with fines or tariffs.

The Liberal government expressed its displeasure with Boeing by threatening to scrap the planned Super Hornet purchase, which Garneau said Monday is currently on hold.

“The requirement is there,” Garneau said of the need for interim fighter jets, “but our particular discussions with Boeing have been put on hold. So we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks over this.”

The ministers said all options are on the table when it comes to obtaining interim fighters, though Bains said it was premature to start having specific discussions with Lockheed or any other company.

Bains said much of his talks with Lockheed instead revolved around potential opportunities for the company to partner with Canada on space-based projects.

“We’re in the process of developing a long-term space strategy,” he said. “And we want to work with Lockheed Martin because they have some outstanding” industrial participation in Canada.

Bains and Garneau actually had a chance to walk through a Bombardier’s CSeries passenger jet, which was being displayed by Air Baltic, one of the first companies to operate the Canadian-made planes. “When I was there, it seemed to be getting some interest,” Garneau said. “I’m very proud that Canada started from scratch and put together really the best plane in its class in the world.”

The federal government announced in February plans to lend Bombardier more than $370 million to help its aircraft division, which was on top of a $1-billion investment by the Quebec government.

Both ministers touted Canada’s aerospace industry as a world leader in the interviews, a message they said is evident by the fact the Canadian delegation to Paris is comprised of 420 individuals from 110 companies.

Russia may start exporting advanced MiG-35 fighter jet in couple of years

MiG-35 Fulcrum F

TASS Russian News Agency, 19 June 2017

LE BOURGET (France), June 19. /TASS/. The exports of Russia’s most advanced Mikoyan MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) fighter jet may begin in a year or two after the plane is finalized to meet its required characteristics, state arms seller Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev said on Monday.

“I believe that within a year or two the plane will be brought to the state that meets its required characteristics, will receive its required outlook and is eventually accepted as a product for exports,” the chief executive said at the Le Bourget aerospace show.

Deputy CEO of Russia’s MiG Aircraft Company Viktor Chernov said earlier on Monday that the MiG-35 will complete state trials in 2017. According to him, the fighter jet has very good prospects:

“This machine, which is completing state trials this year, will have very good prospects – we count on such markets as South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and African countries.”

The MiG-35 is Russia’s most advanced 4++-generation multipurpose fighter jet developed on the basis of the serial-produced MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft.

The fighter jet features improved flight and technical characteristics, the most advanced onboard radio-electronic equipment and a wide arsenal of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The plane can develop a speed of 2.23 Mach and its operational radius exceeds the range of its predecessor MiG-29 by 50%.

The United Aircraft Corporation announced in early February it had signed a contract with Russia’s Defense Ministry on the delivery of two such fighters in 2017-2018. According to a TASS source in the defense sector, a contract for more than 30 MiG-35 for the Defense Ministry may be signed in 2018.

The flight tests of MiG-35 fighter aircraft began on January 26 and the plane’s international presentation was held in the Moscow Region on the following day.

Russia’s state armament program through 2020 stipulates the deliveries of MiG-35 fighter jets to Russia’s Aerospace Force. Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Aerospace Force Viktor Bondarev said earlier that the purchases of over 30 such fighter jets were planned.