Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation MiG (RSK MiG) has built its first batch of pre-production Mikoyan MiG-35 aircraft, according to company CEO Sergei Korotkov. Without specifying how many of the aircraft have been built, he said that the planes will soon be delivered to the Russian Ministry of Defense for early testing.
"We have fulfilled the first stage of this work today," Korotkov said in a press release. "The Russian Defense Ministry has examined and accepted the design. Thus, we are carrying out the work in accordance with the schedule specified by the contract."
"The aircraft that is staying here is currently undergoing all the assembly stages. This year, it will be assembled and delivered to the customer for test flight."
Earlier statements from Korotkov suggested that the plane could enter service between 2018 and 2020.
The MiG-35 comes with a number of state-of-the-art features, including the ability to lock on to 10 targets simultaneously. It can carry a larger payload than its predecessors, including a 30mm gun, air-to-air, air-to-surface, anti-ship, and anti-radar missiles, as well as rockets, bombs, and aerial mines.
The MiG-35 also has electronic warfare capabilities and an anti-missile system.
Pilots will use helmet imaging systems and can perform refueling operations both as recipient and donor.
Travelling at Mach 2.23 – or 2.23 times the speed of sound – the new plane can travel 1.5 times farther than the MiG-29.
"We attribute the plane to the 4th++ generation, which means it has some features of the 5th generation aircraft such as stealthiness and multitasking functionality," Korotkov said.