Prior to Aero India 2009 show we met withPhazotron-NIIR corporation deputy director gen-eral, chief designer of Zhuk-AE radar for theMiG-35 Yuriy Nikolayevich Guskov. He told usabout the results achieved in the AESA flighttests. The Zhuk-AE demonstration unit installedin the MiG-35 prototype provides about 130-140km detection range of a fighter-size target. Withbeefing up the radar’s performance, in particu-lar, increasing the number of transceivers in theantenna array, it is planned to achieve 250-280km detection range. This exceeds capabilities ofexisting radars of heavy fighters.The twin-seat MiG-35 program demonstratorwith 154 board number will fly to Bangalor. Indemo flights at the air show Indian pilots flyingboard 154 will be able to familiarize themselveswith principal modes of the AESA radar: detectionand tracking of aerial targets head-on and tail-onlooking up and looking down as well as groundmapping. The Zhuk-AE chief designer promisesthat the Yelahanka air base and aircraft at thestatic park of the air show will be seen on theradar display.While in the demo flights at the show thecrews will be joint Russian-Indian, in the tenderflight tests the IAF pilots will fly the MiG-35 bythemselves. One more MiG-35 prototype will beprovided to the IAF for tender flights tests. Thatwill be a derivative of the MiG-29K naval fighterwith which the new model has a high level of stan-dardization. The flight test program will be highlyintense and versatile. Yuriy Guskiv comments: “Weare prepared for that, we have recent experienceof the flight tests of Kopyo radar for modernizedMiG-21s of the Indian Air Force. We know howthoroughly the IAF conducts flight tests”.The MiG-35 can be delivered in single-seatas well as twin-seat configurations, everythingdepends on the customer’s requirements. Guskovexplains: “The single and twin-seat airframes areabsolutely identical, even the cockpit canopies arethe same. There is just one more big fuel tank inthe single-seater instead of the back cockpit. Thereis no strict distinction between pilot and naviga-tor/weapons control officer in the twin-seater,both pilots can fully control the aircraft and all itssystems from either cockpit. There is a Russiansaying “one head is good, but two are better”.Pilots give hints to each other, and help mutuallyin flight. This is especially important while flyingdemanding missions when much attention mustbe paid to watching cockpit displays”.Telling about the AESA flight tests whichwent not without overcoming certain difficultiesthe chief designer recalls: “The RAC MiG design-ers had made a stake on us, and while there hadbeen no results, there was some tension. Somehigh ranking program managers had doubts,they said that maybe it would had been better toseek co-operation with French or Israelis. Evenmore so because at first we did not see any aerialtargets, even when switching on the radar on theground. The preparation position of the aircrafton the airfield was in front of a hill that shadowedthe airspace, so in ground tests when power wasapplied the radar screen was absolutely blank,there were no aerial targets of chance to be seen.But when the flight tests began, everything cameto normal. In the very first flight all five encoun-ters with the target provided stable detection atthe predicted range”.Important conclusions can be made fromthe results of the first test flights. Guskov says:“The AESA radar has high reliability, higher thanany previous radar. In spite of the fact that itis a new radar, still in development, we did nothave any failures as such. We keep an eye on thetrancievers’ parameters, watch how they performin flight, communicate with Micran of Tomsk,the supplier of transceivers. Most of them stayas soldiers in the line of columns, all parametersremain unchanged. But some deviations occur, weanalyze them”.
Yuri Guskov, General Designer Phazotron-NIIR Corporation