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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Test Flights of Russia’s New MiG-35 Fighter Shot Down by Lack of Money

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(Photo : Russian Aerospace Forces) MiG-35.

A persistent lack of money has delayed the expected deliveries of the Mikoyan MiG-35 air superiority fighter for testing and evaluation by the Egyptian Air Force and the Russian Air Force.

The evaluations were supposed to have taken place at the end of 2016 and two MiG-35s delivered to Egypt. In July 2016, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the conglomerate that includes Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, said it was completing the general assembly stage, and should move to flight tests according to schedule.

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"We will begin state tests as part of the Ministry of Defense program at the end of summer (2016). The tests will be carried out until next year," said General Director Sergey Korotkov.

Those tests were to have begun in January 2017 and failed to take place due to funding shortfalls.

The delay belies the claim made in December 2016 by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin that test flights of fourth-generation MiG-35 jet will begin in January 2017.

This generation 4.5 (or generation 4++) fighter made by Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG is in the same league as the Sukhoi Su-35S.

Egypt signed a contract in April 2015 for 50 MiG -35s worth over $2 billion, and has made a down payment on this order. Egypt's MiG-35s will be equipped with high precision targeting pods.

In contrast, the Russian Air Force has ordered only 37 MiG -35s worth $1.1 billion but has delayed acquiring the jet because of government spending cuts. Development of Russia's MiG-35 should be completed in 2017 while entry into service with the Russian Air Force is scheduled for 2018.

The main customer for the MiG -35, however, was supposed to be the Indian Air Force and the jet was first unveiled at the Aero India 2007 air show in Bangalore. The MiG -35 was one of six contenders for India's multi-role combat aircraft competition that would see 126 jets on order.

France's Dassault Rafale eventually won this competition and the loss was a huge blow to cash-strapped Russia.

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