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"MiG-35" Flatpack / 1.42 Multirole Front-Line Fighter [MFI]

The new MiG Multirole Front-Line Fighter [MFI - Mnogofounksionalni Frontovoi Istrebiel ] was unveiled publicly on 12 January 1999. This multi-functional front-line fifth-generation fighter was developed by the MIG [Mikoyan & Gurevich] aviation scientific and production complex of the MAPO military-industrial corporation. The project has been under development since 1986, is variously designated the 1.42, the 1.44, I-42 and I-44, The "MiG-35" and "MiG-39" designations had been informally applied by some observers, but by 2006, with the emergence of the MiG-35, the former designation is surely inaccurate. The 1-42 and 1-44 may be designations of the two prototypes, with the 1.44 used for the flight-test airframe(s). Other sources suggest that the 1-44 designation references the prototypes, and the 1-42 designation was used for the un-built production design.

The first prototype was delivered early in 1994, and in December 1984 taxi-tests were conducted following which further work was suspended due to a shortage of funds. The 35-ton fighter features a single under-fuselage air intake with two AL41F engines of 20 tons thrust each, and a top speed of over 2,500 km/h. The twin-tail "duck" planform features an all-moving canard-type foreplane with a wingspan of about 15 meters and a length of about 20 meters.

The MAPO-MiG enterprise claims the new fighter would be able to outperform the F-22 Raptor, the most advanced US air-superiority fighter. Although the primary mission of the MFI is air-superiority, unlike the F-22 the MFI is also capable of performing strike mission, and thus in both conception and configuration is more directly comparable to the similar multi-role EFA2000 Eurofighter. Like the American F-22, the MFI has a thrust vectoring system that allows it to make sharp turns. It also has similar stealth capabilities, with the canard, wing and fuselage structures incorporating carbon-fiber and polymer composite materials. Other stealth features include radar-absorbing covering, screening of radar-visible structure elements, and reduced heat signature. The fifth-generation pulse-doppler radar has a phased-array andtenna with electronic scanning to simultaneously attack over 20 targets. The aircraft can carry long-range air-to-air and air-to-surface guided missiles, and it is armed with a 30-mm cannon.

In March 1997, military officials scrapped plans to manufacture the MFI because it was too expensive. The Defense Ministry supported the MFI development program, and would decide on production following flight tests that could take up to seven years. The Russian air force will not gain one new, state-of-the-art warplane before the year 2005 because of insufficient financing. No new warplanes had been acquired since 1996.

The MiG corporation asserted that a first test flight happened in late 2000, in which object 1.44 spent a few minutes in the air. However, neither representatives of the Defense Ministry, nor journalists saw that flight. And by 2001 it was apparent that the MiG-35 would not enter development or production.

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