Mikoyan MiG 1. 42 / 1. 44 / MFI History

Mikoyan designed the MiG 1. 42 in response to a Soviet requirement for a multi-role frontline fighter through the "Multifunctional Frontline Fighter" program begun sometime in the 1980s. The fighter was to directly compete against the end-product of the "Advanced Tactical Fighter" program being conducted in the United States (this end-product eventually becoming the production Lockheed F-22 "Raptor" air superiority fighter). The 1. 42 was selected as the eventually replacement to the successful Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" series in 1986. While the designation of "1. 42" was used to signify the project itself as well as the main prototype(s), the designation of "1. 44" was used for to signify the program's aerodynamic test airframe of (which two are thought to have been produced). The two airframe types are differentiated by the 1. 42's noted improved functions and represents the version most closely associated with a production-standard airframe. The 1. 44 is essentially an aerodynamic demonstrator. In all, the 1. 42 program appears as nothing more than a technology demonstrator for both the Mikoyan bureau and the Russian Air Force.

NATO MiG 1. 42/1. 44 Nomenclature

Despite the non-production status of the aircraft, NATO has assigned the two airframes respective codenames in its inventory nomenclature - these being "Foxglove" (for the 1. 42) and "Flatpack" (for the 1. 44). To further confuse things, the project aircraft are also known under the collective designation of "MiG-MFI". MFI stands for "Mnogo-Funktsionalniy Istrebitel" or "Multi-Role Fighter".

MiG 1. 42/1. 44 Walk-Around

The MiG 1. 42/1. 44 was powered by a pair of thrust-vectoring Lyulka-Saturn AL-41F series afterburning turbofan engines delivering 39,680lbs of thrust each. Thrust-vectoring allows aircraft unprecedented agility in the skies, particularly in lateral movements. The twin powerplants were aspirated by a pair of under-fuselage intake openings similar in placement to that as found on the Eurofighter Typhoon. The fuselage maintained a generally pleasing, well-rounded appearance - a far cry from the boxy airframes consistent with the Soviet Cold War-era. The cockpit was held forward in the design, aft of a nose cone assembly to someday house an active phased radar array. The cockpit featured seating for one pilot under a two-piece canopy with relatively good views out of the seat. The pilot sat behind an "all-glass" instrument panel and the installed weapons system was said to be capable of targeting some twenty aerial targets at once. Of note is that the technology powering the 1. 42/1. 44 was essentially equivalent to that of 4. 5-Generation fighter designs and this included its fly-by-wire configuration and general construction and layout. All-moving canard wings were affixed to the forward portion of the fuselage to aid in low-level/low-speed flight. The main wing assemblies were themselves large-area delta systems with noticeable sweep along the trailing edge. The delta design meant that there were no "true" horizontal tail planes found on conventional aircraft. Vertical fins were mounted outboard of each engine compartment at the rear, notable in that they were well-spaced apart. The engines themselves were tightly set in a side-by-side arrangement and exhausted through their respective vectoring nozzle rings. The undercarriage was of a conventional tricycle type featuring two main landing gear legs (single-wheeled) and a nose landing gear leg (double-tired). Stealth was said to feature prominently in the exterior design of the 1. 42 but has been dismissed as an optimistic claim by Western observers.

Performance

Estimated performance specifications have placed the 1. 42's top speed in the range of Mach 2. 6, or 1,716 miles per hour, with use of afterburn (a "supercruise" function is thought to be part of the engines power - supercruise allows supersonic flight without use of the fuel-thirsty afterburner). Range is reportedly out to 2,500 miles with an impressive service ceiling equivalent to 70,720 feet. The Lyulka-Saturn engines were known to have powered a modified Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger" and Mikoyan MiG-25 "Foxbat" during evaluation and were found to provide for better range when compared to the Sukhoi Flanker series the MiG 1. 42 was meant to replace.

Armament

Despite reports that the MiG 1. 42 made use of internal weapons bays, the demonstrator was showcased with external weapons pylons. The standard internal weapon fitting was a single 30mm Izhmash GSh-301 series cannon for close-in self-defense. It is suspected that the MiG-1. 42, had it entered production, would have made use of the standard array of air-to-air/air-to-ground missiles (radar- and IR-guided) as well as conventional drop ordnance found throughout the Russian Air Force inventory.

Further Development

Already some four years behind schedule, taxi trials were completed with the 1. 44 airframe sometime in 1994 at Zhukosky. However, the general overall cost of the program versus dwindling Russian defense funds following the collapse of the Soviet Union endangered the MiG 1. 42 project in whole. A reportedly high-per-unit cost eventually did the aircraft in with the Russian government pulling the plug on the MiG 1. 42 during 1997. Development continued along limited fronts for a time and the follow-up 1. 44 aerodynamic airframe was officially unveiled in January of 1999 with a first flight expected in February of that year. However, more delays in the program pushed this monumental event further with first flight not achieved until February 29th, 2000. This was followed up by at least two further reported test flights occurring in 2001.

The MiG 1. 42 and the PAK FA

Of course Russian officials were quick to note the type's excellence over that of the American F-22. However, while the 1. 42 has been languishing sorely for the last decade, the F-22 has already entered production service with the United States Air Force as its first Fifth Generation mount with the F-35 soon to follow. The Russians continue to play catch up in a Fifth Generation fighter development with their upcoming Sukhoi PAK FA (Prospective Air Complex - Frontal Aviation), a development more in line with perhaps the multirole-minded Lockheed F-35 Lightning II. The PAK FA (now expected to replace both the MiG-29 and the Su-27 series) has now evolved to become a joint development effort between Russian and India. The initial PAK FA prototype first flew in early 2010. The joint development effort (essentially spawning a derivative of the PAK FA for Indian service) is known under the designation of FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) and involves both Sukhoi of Russia and HAL of India. An agreement between the two parties was signed in 2001. It is believed that the MiG 1. 42/1. 44 has been used as a data collection platform for the PAK FA program and similar powerplants found on the former are said to power the latter.

The MiG-35 Designation

The MiG 1. 42/1. 44/MFI was once designated as the "MiG-35". This designation has since been removed from the project and assigned to a newer (and wholly unrelated) version of the Mikoyan MiG-29 "Fulcrum".

Mikoyan MiG 1. 42 / 1. 44 / MFI Specification

BASICS

Year:
1999
Crew:
1

MANUFACTURING

[ 3 Units ]:
Mikoyan-Gurevich

ROLES

- Fighter

- X-Plane / Developmental

DIMENSIONS

Length:

62. 34 ft (19 m)

Width/Span:

49. 21 ft (15 m)

Height:

14. 76 ft (4. 5 m)

WEIGHTS

Empty Weight:

39,683 lb (18,000 kg)

MTOW:

77,162 lb (35,000 kg)

(Diff: +37,479lb)

POWER

2 x Saturn/Lyulka AL-41F afterburning thrust-vectoring turbofans developing 39,680lbs of thrust each.

PERFORMANCE

Maximum Speed:

1,716 mph (2,761 kph; 1,491 kts)

Service Ceiling:

55,774 feet (17,000 m; 10. 56 miles)

Maximum Range:

2,485 miles (4,000 km; 2,160 nm)

ARMAMENT

STANDARD:

1 x 30mm Izhmash GSh-301 cannon

OPTIONAL:

Base collection of Soviet/Russian air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles as needed across external or internal hardpoints (some sources include use of internal weapons bays).

R-77 (AA-12 "Adder") medium-range, radar-guided missiles.

R-73 (AA-11 "Archer") short-range, infrared-guided missiles.

K-37 long-range, radar-guided missiles

K-74 short-range infrared guided missiles

Conventional Drop Bombs

VARIANTS

Project 1. 44 "Flatpack" - Project Designation; never entered production.

Project 1. 42 "Foxglove" - Alternative Designation

MiG-MFI - Alternative Designation

MiG-35 - Early Designation; now since assigned to a further-developed MiG-29 Fulcrum model.

Related stuff

1400 1514 1587 1765 1774 1775 1776 1782 1785 1786 1791 1797 1811 1813 1819 1840 1841 1842 1852 1853 1855 1856 1857 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1873 1874 1875 1877 1878 1885 1886 1888 1889 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Contact