Russia copies Boeing X-32 and embeds it into the cold-war MiG 1.44 project to create Checkmate LCA

The newest Russian next-generation light fighter first unveiled at the MAKS-2021 air show, can be adapted for use on the Russian air force and prospective buyers from Asia and Latin America, suggested by the Russian United Aircraft Corporation. Apparently, this was the main goal of the developers of this combat aircraft.

The organizers of the MAKS-2021 air show have revealed the secret of the newest Russian light fighter of the fifth generation, the creation of which was previously reported in the state corporation Rostec.

A reminder of Soviet-era MiG 1.44 Project

With the dissolution of the USSR, the Russian Federation inherited Mikoyan’s next-generation fighter program. The new state was in a poor position to continue to fund the cutting edge fighter program, experiencing years of hyperinflation and a staggering economic contraction of 40% in the 1990s. Russia’s armed forces, as a result, prioritized the modernization of its Su-27, developing the next-variant Su-30 and marketing both platforms as highly successful export jets to earn much needed foreign currency.

In 1994 an incomplete prototype fighter based on the MiG 1.44 design undertook its first flight tests, and though successful, the program was soon after postponed indefinitely due to an acute lack of funds. As an ambitious cutting edge next-generation fighter program, its cost was unacceptably high for the impoverished Russian government, leading to its cancellation in 1997.

MiG 1.44 Project

By 1999 some limited efforts to sustain the program had continued, and the first complete fighter was ready for official inspection. The fighter was officially rolled out in the presence of Russia’s military and political leadership and international journalists, with the program’s secrecy lifted.

The program was shortly after cancelled, however and has never been revived. It was far from Russia’s final attempt to develop a next-generation fighter. Still, such developments would only come to fruition years later – with the development of the Su-57 fighter from 2006 sought to build on the limited technological advancement the country had already developed. The Su-57 has many shortcomings and annoyed buyers, including Algeria, Vietnam and India.

Light Combat Aircraft

The MiG 1.44’s similarities to the Chinese J-20 next-generation fighter have led to some speculation that China’s People’s Liberation Army managed to acquire information from the then cash strapped Russian armed forces on the fighter program during the 1990s, which it used to develop its advanced next-generation air superiority platform.

The new lightweight fighter is similar to the MiG 1.44 project, except this fighter is a single-engine and added divert-less inlet attached under the fuselage.

Plugging the gaps of Su-57

The Indian Air Force has complained about many shortcomings in Su-57, including stealth, radar, avionics, cockpit and engines. Finally, India has left the PAK FA program leaving Russian Sukhoi with a tremendous financial burden.

Experts analyzed the video that appeared with the Russian light-type fighter, which they had already dubbed the Su-75 fighter on the Web, and did not find similar drawbacks of the Su-57 aircraft. Previously, due to these shortcomings, India, China, Vietnam and other countries actively criticized the Russian Su-57. This significantly increases the likelihood that the Russian combat aircraft will not only be in demand in the Russian troops, but also foreign partners may be interested in it.

Defense experts pay attention to the angular design of the fuselage and the absence of joints, which can be the reason for the detection of this combat aircraft by standard air defense systems. This fact indicates that there are some low radar signatures of the light aircraft

Among other things, the fighter’s rear-engine section attachment to the fuselage does not have any elements that could expose the aircraft to heat-seeking missiles, which indicates that domestic designers have learnt some lessons from the development of Su-57 combat aircraft.

Among other things, Global Defense Corp drew attention to the corresponding figure on the fuselage of a light fighter Su-75, which may indicate that the fighter will receive the name Su-75; however, at the moment, this is nothing more than a guess.

What’s inside the aircraft matter most than outside?

One of the reasons, the US Air Force put X-32 on the shelf as the aircraft’s inlet design was still an issue, less of the engine face would have been visible to radar from front hemisphere aspects and the design always intended to incorporate a variable geometry baffle on the engine face to greatly reduce the aircraft’s critical head-on radar cross-section.

As for the previously made assumptions that the combat aircraft was copied from the American X-32, experts note that there are quite a few characteristic similarities, and the previously published information about the apparent similarity of combat aircraft is rather a delusion.

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