Russian aviation is near the best in the world -- their airplanes are far cheaper than US war planes, and deliver a lethal punch. Two fighters that are in the news are the SU-35 and MIG-35. At first glance, one may conclude that both fighters are similar, but that would be a fallacy, as both planes have different roles, and, in fact, complement each other. The SU-35 is the bigger plane and is the Russian answer to the F-35. Both planes were conceived during the era of the Soviet Union, but have now been made operational. The SU-35 has the longer range and better weaponry, and can function as a DPSA (Deep penetration strike aircraft), while the MIG-35 is cheaper, and in case you need a pure interceptor or tactical support aircraft, the MIG-35 scores.

Development of MIG and SU

The MIG-35 is built on the older platform of the MIG-29. In fact, one can say it's an upgraded version of this plane. The MIG-29 can be upgraded, hence most countries like India which operate the MIG-29 have not gone in for the MIG-35. The SU-35 is a stealth fighter and is about the best in the world. The Chinese operate it and so does the Russian Air Force. It is an air superiority war plane and complements the MIG-35. The Russians have a role for both planes.


The Indians were offered the SU-35 but opted for the Rafael. In combat the SU-35 is superior and the USAF is wary of it. In case of conflict with China, the Rafael may have to face the SU-35 and one will have to see which is the better plane.

In actual combat during the Kargil conflict, the Russian jet (MIG-29) had the edge over the American F-15/16. One has to wait for the induction of the F-35 for balance. Israel is the first country to operate the F-35, but it's a costly plane, and even Donald Trump has commented adversely on it.

The future

In the long run, the SU-35 will score over the MIG-35.

But in short combat and local battle, the MIG is the master, while the SU is good for long range attacks and creates a favorable air situation for combat on the ground. It is a 4th generation plane, and among the best fighters in the world. The Russian Air Force has ordered both planes, but I suspect in time the Russians will retain the SU over the MIG.