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

Until recently, Russian and foreign experts asked the question: what is the multi-purpose fighter (MFI), also known as Project 1.42? at what stage is this development? How was Aeronautical Scientific-Industrial Complex "MIG" sble in principle to raise the MFI in the air? In the past it was almost impossible give any definite answers - project 1.42 was surrounded by a dense veil of secrecy. Even the appearance of a new aircraft belonged to the category of protected information. It should be noted: the creation of MFI, fully met the requirements of the wars of the XXI century, can rightly be attributed to one of the outstanding achievements of the Russian aircraft industry and the domestic scientific thought the last quarter of this century.

On January 12, 1999 First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev held a show. 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.

Preliminary work on the design of the fifth-generation heavy fighter for the Air Force and Air Defense Forces launched in late 1979 within the framework of the I-90 (Istrebtel-90 / "Fighter of the 1990s"). In 1981 TSAGI recommendations were issued on the aircraft, performed across a "duck" with adaptive delta wing and a large number of deflecting surfaces, providing high values of aerodynamic control as subsonic and supersonic modes and at supercritical flight angles of attack.

The MiG 1.44 fifth generation fighter prototype Multifunctional Frontline Fighter (MFI) in the series was supposed to get a Mig-35 title. The project had been under development since 1986, and was 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.

Work on the new fighter began in OKB Mikoyan in 1983, which approved "Comprehensive target program" work on the aircraft, powerplant, armament and avionics, as well as tactical and technical requirements the Air Force and Air Defence. In 1987, the pilot project took place protection, and in 1991 - the conceptual design and layout of the aircraft, received index "MFI" - multifunctional frontline fighter.

The general management of the work on the creation of the MFI was carried out by the General Designer of the Mikoyan Design Bureau R.A. Belyakov. The Hero of the Soviet Union, engineer and test pilot G.A. Sedov was appointed chief designer, and V.N.Shchepin and B.P. Vorotnikov were appointed his deputies (in 1997, Yuri Vorotnikov replaced Georgy Sedov as chief designer). A significant contribution to the creation of the MFI was made by the Deputy General Designer Anatoly Belosvet, as well as TsAGI specialists (in particular, Academician G.S. Byushgens). The integrated control system of the MFI was developed under the leadership of General Designer V.M. Petrov, and the electro-hydraulic drives of the controls were developed under the leadership of B.V. Belevitin. When developing the fighter, an automated design system was used.

Work on the new fighter on the MiG was not easy: during the design, model testing, changes were made to the design. As the project stalled, MiG did what it could to keep the program alive dying. Full-scale mockups were built for ground tests, and the unfinished prototype was transported to the airfield where to make flight tests. However, efforts to secure government funding fell short. 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. In 1995 funding was denied, and in 1997 the MFI was cancelled on grounds of high cost. As Mikoyan fell into financial hardship, they came under new management, which finally secured funding to complete the prototype.

The MiG corporation asserted that a first test flight happened in 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. On February 29, 2000, the MiG 1.44 finally made its first flight. In all, it would only fly twice, never breaking the sound barrier or flying exceptionally high. Less than an hour of flight time was amounted before testing abruptly stopped, likely due to the appearance of unforeseen issues and lack of funding.

By 2001 it was apparent that object 1.44 would not enter development or production. It happened that the 1991 crisis put paid to the further fate of the aircraft. MAPO-MIG and failed in the new prevailing conditions to finance the project. Work on MFI continued, and February 29, 2000 the first prototype of the MiG 1.42 nevertheless made the first flight. But a series of financial scandals that shook MAPO-MIG, put an end to this project.

The problem was that after 1991, the entire Russian military-industrial complex drove into a deep crisis, and if the US government continued to invest billions of dollars in the creation of a fifth-generation fighter, in Russia this program was completely discontinued. The result of many years of work was embodied in the prototype plane, which, due to financial difficulties, took to the air only on February 29, 2000. Unfortunately, the matter did not go beyond several flights. No design bureau is able to pull such a project on its own, and the resolution on the establishment of the PAK FA, issued in 2002, finally buried MiG 1.44.

In 2013 the only flying prototype was in L.I.I.Gromov in Zhukovsky, in the open air. It was decided on the final preservation copies in the hangar. Among a number of experts it is believed that some of the technology and common types of aircraft have been sold to China, but most likely, the Chinese when creating his J-20 used 1.46 Project drawings purchased from RAC "MiG". In August 2015 the Russian aviakorporatsiya "MiG" announced the resumption of work on a promising fighter. Aviation experts suggested that the achievements of the project will be put in 1.44 they are based.

Discussions around this project of the MiG corporation had been going on for a long time, but the latest surge in speculations on the status of the program occurred at the end of December 2013, when representatives of MiG in an official statement said that the only flying prototype of the fifth generation MiG fighter 1.44 will be mothballed and sent to storage in the hangar of the LII named after M.M.Gromov. To date, the prototype had made only two flights, both in 2000, and has since been used as a working model in the development of the T-50. According to sources in the aircraft construction industry, it has made only one prototype test flight.

A prototype of the MiG-1.44, established in the 1990s in the development of fifth generation fighter, was first introduced on display at MAKS-2015, which was held in August in Moscow. As noted by the corporation, the project will make a big leap in the direction of the fifth generation fighter and inherent in it successfully developed the technology so far.

The fuselage of the machine exhibited at the MAKS-2015, made with the use of stealth technology - the plane is covered with a special radar-absorbing layer, and its keels are designed so that the fighter remained invisible to radar. In addition, the location has been changed air intakes, and all the weapons intended to place in the inner compartments.

The decision to preserve MiG 1.44 instead of taking it apart, sending valuable parts for recycling, apparently, was of considerable importance. After all, this was how the MO decided to do with an experimetal Tu-160, which was the first Soviet supersonic bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

This is a curious choice, some Russian analysts of the aerospace industry say: Spare MiG 1.44 and put the Tu-160 into the wreck, despite the fact that the program for creating a promising bomber PAK-DA has advanced further than the program of a light promising fighter, and he enjoys greater support from the Ministry of Defense and the Air Force of the country. "

The preservation of MiG 1.44 may be an indication that somewhere in the Defense Ministry and the Air Force they want the MiG designers to work on an aircraft of a new generation - in case the T-50 cannot produce enough or its production lags far behind from the schedule, according to a Russian specialist in the aerospace industry. Representatives of RSK MiG still refuse to comment on plans for the MiG 1.44 flight prototype, as well as four unfinished gliders of the same program that are located at the Sokol aircraft factory in Nizhny Novgorod.

However, in the Air Force and the parent company of RSK MiG, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), not everyone likes the idea of developing the next generation light fighter, according to one Moscow analyst in the field of defense policy. The T-50 will ultimately cost more than originally planned, and the completion of the project will take more time as happens with all such programs so [General Director of UAC and OKB im. Sukhoi Mikhail] Pogosyan wants everyone to stop any talk about the project of a promising lightweight fighter.




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