Cain Marko wrote:Re. its capability, there is little to doubt that it'll meet IAF needs quite well.
Except for the whole part about it being ready anytime soon.
That is beside the point that I was making. However, taking the bait, I'd argue that this is hardly an issue -
First the bird as it currently stands is complete. The Zhuk A 680 TRM version has finished development. Its performance is decent. All other components are pretty much in service via the MiG-29K.
Second, it is similar to the Gripen in a sense. So if they can settle for the NG, the 35 should be alright.
Third, none of the candidates are completely ready - I doubt the IAF is just going to take them in the way they currently exist. It is very likely that some components would be different for a variety of reasons. The US birds are particularly prone to modification requirements thanks largely due to issues with CISMOA (the 130s are a good example). Is the APG-79 ready (approved by Congress and GOTUS) for sale to the IAF with the requised TOT? If not, what alternatives do they propose?
To some degree, all the contenders leave questions unanswered. And then there is the example of the MKI. What state was the MKI in when the first deal was inked (1996)? It was accepted in batchwise improvements. The base configuration for the MiG-35 could be easily regarded as acceptable considering that all components are ready - as of today there is nobody in the neighborhood that sports such technology. And the price will definitely be closest to India's liking.
The only thing stopping this deal is the predominant position of Russki hardware in IAF inventory, something that the IAF wants to understandably get away from. I doubt that it is for any other reason that the IAF is reluctant to buy this bird. All other issues re. the 35 such as its range/payload handicap or smoky engines or lack of sensor fusion and supply chain difficulties have been addressed.