According to the press department of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD), Azerbaijani Air Force (Azərbaycan hərbi hava qüvvələri) pilots practiced flying Russian-made Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F). The Azerbaijani Air Force delegation visited the plants that produce Sukhoi Su-35 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 multirole combat aircraft. During the meetings with the representatives of Russia’s company Rosoboronexport and the top executives of the plants, Azerbaijan’s interest in the acquisition of the most sophisticated Russian-made combat aircraft was revealed.
Azerbaijan is reported to be choosing a new combat workhorse for the Azerbaijani Air Force. The MiG-35 is the latest iteration of the renowned MiG-29: the Azerbaijani Air Force will not spend much time to master it, considering the ongoing deployment of the upgraded Fulcrum. The Azerbaijani Air Forcee has 14 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (Fulcrum) multirole combat aircraft and two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29UB (Fulcrum-B) operational trainers. This fleet dates back to the mid-2000s and should pass through both incremental and comprehensive upgrades in years to come. The modernization with MiG-35 of the existing Azerbaijani Air Force’s infrastructure will not carry a hefty price tag.
The Mikoyan MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) is a Russian multirole fighter that is designed by Mikoyan, a division of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Marketed as a 4++ generation jet fighter, it is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters. The MiG-35 features relatively high cost-effectiveness ratio as it is capable of carrying modern air-launched weapons. Having a well-balanced flight hour cost and extended service life (compared to that of the legacy MiG-29 variants), the aircraft is capable of replacing ageing Fulcrums. The single-seat version is designated MiG-35S and the two-seat version MiG-35UB.