Liogkiy Mnogofunktsionalniy Frontovoi Samolyet (LMFS)
[Light Multi-Function Frontal Aircraft]
Light Multi-Role Tactical Aircraft
Russia will soon start developing a prototype of an advanced lightweight fighter jet to supplement fifth-generation T-50 aircraft, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said 11 December 2013. The new aircraft is expected to be cheaper to produce and easier to maintain, but should also possess combat capabilities and performance characteristics comparable with those of heavy-class aircraft. “The development of a light-class fighter has been included in the current arms procurement program. It will be created,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, addressing the lower house of parliament.
Rogozin, who oversees the defense and space industries, said light-class fighters were in greater demand abroad, compared to more advanced heavy-class aircraft, such as Su-30 or the planned T-50 fighter jets. Russia was developing the heavy-class T-50 multirole fighter aircraft, also known as PAK-FA, which will be the core of the country’s future fighter fleet. Rogozin, who first voiced the idea of developing a second type of a fifth-generation fighter in February 2012, said that Russia has always had at least two types of tactical fighters that in general supplemented one another. The latest example is a MiG-29/Su-27 pair. Rogozin did not specify which of Russia’s two main designers of combat jets – MiG or Sukhoi – will be assigned the development of the future light-class fighter.
In November 2006 it was reported that the Russian Air Force had made an unexpected shift in the priorities for its future fighter, with the service will back the simultaneous development of two programs for a fifth-generation aircraft. The PAK FA medium-weight fighter program, which had been underway since 2002, was joined by MiG's lighter-weight aircraft project. In addition to the goal of winning domestic orders, MiG's light multi-role fighter, built on the company's earlier experience with its MiG 1.44 program, also may attract India as a co-developer and future customer.
In April 2002, the Russian military chose Sukhoi's T-50 proposal in the fifth-generation fighter contest - which was codenamed the Perspektivniy Aviatsionniy Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsii (PAK FA), or future tactical aviation air system. The Sukhoi T-50's rival in 2002 was the MiG design, the exact designation of which is classified. Later, when MiG Corp. decided to continue this program, it received the codename Liogkiy Mnogofunktsionalniy Frontovoi Samolyot (LMFS) or Light Multi-role Tactical Aircraft. MiG Corp. did not accept defeat in the contest against Sukhoi.
In 2005 MiG's LMFS project came out of the shadows again. The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) started analyzing the development options for a home-grown fifth-generation fighter, called the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA), which was a twin-engine version of the its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter. After a bad experience with the LCA, India sought a partner in Russia for the MCA program, which eventually resulted in the joint development of the Sukhoi T-50.
A great advantage of the MiG project is the fact that its design and technical parameters are significantly different from the Sukhoi T-50. As a result, the market does not have to choose between an "either-or" situation, and both aircraft can find their place, depending upon the needs of potential export clients.
The LMFS will be about 30% lighter than the T-50. According to approximate assessments, the T-50 would have a normal take-off weight of 21 tons, which places it between present MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters - whereas the LMFS is likely to weigh 15 tons. Possibly, the LMFS will retain the delta canard configuration of the heavy MiG 1.44 prototype.
In April 2006, the St. Petersburg-based Klimov Company announced that it had started design work on a new engine for the next-generation lightweight fighter being developed by MiG Corp. Although MiG has yet to define all of its requirements for the future engine, Klimov representatives said their powerplant will have increased thrust, a vectoring nozzle and modular design.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|