MiG 1.44: how to fly the Soviet super-fighter

Weapons 31/12/19 Public domainМиг 1.44: how to fly the Soviet super-fighter

Fighter 5th generation su-57 is not the only aircraft in this class, developed by the Russian defense industry. It turns out that in 1979 the USSR launched a project to create a fundamentally new aircraft, which was to ensure the Soviet Union’s undisputed supremacy in the air over the U.S. air force. We are talking about MiG 1.44, whose specifications stated are consistent with and even superior to the American fighter F-22 “Raptor”, which became the first ever car of the 5th generation. The Americans gave our plane a name Flatpack – “disassembled”, that is “unfinished”. But as you know, he laughs best who laughs last.

Lockheed Martin VS OKB Mikoyan

In the 80 and 90-ies of the last century, two talented team in different hemispheres at the same time worked on complex technical challenges – Lockheed Martin and OKB Mikoyan. Why was he “buried” the Russian project? The answer lies in the same plane, why after some time ceased production of the “Raptor”. The aircraft was not ready for that ahead of time planes: the US just had more money to bring the prestige project to its logical end.

Yes, the only instance flew only once, on 29 February 2000, but on 6 April 2009, Americans under the weight of huge expenditures have also said “no” to your car. The U.S. Secretary of defense Robert gates gave the order to stop production of F-22, completing the construction of cars began in 2011. Today in connection with the problems of the second of the F-35, sometimes voices in favor of the resuscitation of the release of “Raptor,” but his price of $ 250 million for the unit cools even the most loyal fans.

the Choice of the Ministry of defense of the USSR

During the “Cold war (CW)” the Soviet Union has developed a combat aircraft, which were OSPARit is the superiority of the Americans in the air. Admittedly, the Russian designers did it. OKB Mikoyan went from the MiG-15, which perfectly showed itself in the Korean war, through the MiG-23, MiG-29 K fighters 4th generation MiG-31, which at the end of CW has provided our country, parity in the air.

At this time, the other elite heavy fighter Soviet su-27 was the favorite “child” of a competing design Bureau “Dry”, but by 1990, only 100 of these aircraft entered the Soviet air force, that is many times less than it was made MiGs. It is logical that in the beginning of 1980 years (according to some information in 1979), when finally formed the concept of the fighter 5th generation, the development requested by OKB named after A. I. Mikoyan.

the Beginning of the legend

In 1984, Soviet aircraft were introduced into the mass operation of the first machine of the 4th generation su-27 and MiG-29 another, and in parallel was already in full swing work on the platform of the 5th generation. It needs a) to be highly maneuverable; b) to fly in nonafterburning mode at supersonic speeds; C) to have the smallest possible radar and thermal signature.

it was clear that the new fighter needs a significant number of parts made of composites, which had yet to develop. Of particular importance was the creation of a special radar absorbing coating, whereby the radar cross section RCS must not exceed 0.3 meters, that is to be no worse than the F-22 “Raptor”. Our scientists proposed the idea of “plasma shield” that, in principle, all would do a MiG 1.44 “invisible”.

by the Way, the engine AL-41F, which was later used on the fighters of the 4++ generation su-35S and even the car of the 5th generation su-57 have already been developed at NPO “Saturn” that allowed the MiG 1.44 speed of 2.35 Mach. All this combined with the advanced radar, computer, avionics and a glass cockpit was done the car developed a leading fighter in the world, far outshining opportunities not only its predecessors, the 4th generation, but even the F-22 “Raptor”.

the Struggle for the reduction of the cost

Before the Soviet builders had a difficult task to replace the “heavy” su-27 and “easy” MiG-29 on the next generation of aircraft, so much so that significantly reduce the costs of development and production. We will remind that the USA also struggled with the costs of the development of the F-15 and F-16, using both planes on the same technology. This means that the development of the su-57 was a long time ago.

in 1988, it became clear that the Soviet Union creates a super-fighter. Then the military and the designers agreed on specific operational requirements for the new MiG. In 1991, the project essentially was completed and approved by the Ministry of defence of the Soviet Union. If I managed to keep with the theme, the MiG 1.44 would stand the world’s first real machine of the 5th generation, far ahead of the appearance of the F-22 “Raptor”. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to cessation of funding.

Heavy 90-e years

With the collapse of the USSR, Russia inherited the program of the MiG 1.44. Moscow was suddenly too in a bad economic situation, experienced in the 1990-ies staggering economic decline of 40% and entered into a period of hyperinflation. It was decided to spend the money where the “exhaust” was cheaper, and the result before. As a result, the Russian air force gave priority to modernization of the su-27 and developed a more complex aircraft su-30. Then, the Ministry of defense both projects sold to China as export options to earn much needed “defense” of foreign currency.

However, the introduction of the F-22 “Raptor” unnerved our military, so once again attempts were made to revive the project MiG 1.44. In 1994, the prototype fighter based on the MiG 1.44 had its first flight tests. The aircraft received the index 1.42 and confirmed most of the characteristics. But the money ended again. And although the program was successful, she soon was again postponed indefinitelysecond term. It became clear that the advanced fighter programme of the fifth generation were not affordable for the poor Russian government.

In 1999, again, the money was allocated, and the first MiG 1.44 was ready for testing. January 12, 2000, the aircraft was officially rolled out in the presence of the Russian military-political leadership and international journalists, removing the secrecy from the program. Significant interruptions had a negative impact on the project, besides the once cutting-edge solutions have become obsolete. Were financial scandals involving the embezzlement of earmarked funding. But most importantly, it was clear that the country needs more “heavy” fighter of the 5th generation, what should be the new su. It is believed that the MiG 1.44 was sold to China and became the basis for Chinese aircraft J-20.

PS In June 2015 delicious “MiG” announced the resumption of works on creation of light promising fighter, who, according to some experts, going to be the machine of the 5th generation. Most likely, the basis will take the achievements of the project MiG 1.44. So, we will see the continuation of the legend.

Alexander Sitnikov

© Russian Seven

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