Russia has initiated a study on the feasibility of developing a new tactical aviation platform, that could complement the Su-57 as a light fifth generation fighter jet.
“In particular, at the end of last year (2019), MiG RSK placed an order for the study ‘aerodynamic calculation of a light multi-functional front-line twin-engine aircraft, comparison with foreign analogues for the period 2020-2025. Information about this was posted on the public procurement portal. The cost of work is estimated at 4 million rubles ($1 = 75 rubles),” the UAC said in a Twitter post.
The possibility of creating a fifth-generation light fighter at RSK MiG was announced in 2017 by Dmitry Rogozin, then Russian Deputy Prime Minister. According to him, the plane should fly by 2025. Further information was revealed by at the Army-2017 forum by the head of the MiG RSK Ilya Tarasenko, who said that the aircraft would be a twin-engine one.
Later, the executive director of UEC-Klimov, JSC Alexander Vatagin said that the engine for this machine would be a more powerful version of the RD-33 which powers the MiG-29 and MiG-35 jets. During the IDEX-2019 exhibition, negotiations began with the United Arab Emirates about the possibility of creating a light fifth-generation light fighter. Nothing has been heard of that project since then.
Russian industry sources had told defenseword.net during the MAKS-2019 event that a possible light fighter, which could be called the MiG-XX for now, was on the table. This aircraft would borrow certain characteristics of the Su-57 such as an internal weapons bay, lightweight materials and stealth characteristics. The engine would be more powerful than seen on the MiG-35.
The need for the MiG-XX arises as the use of an expensive and heavy machine (such as the Su-57) would be an overkill to perform certain tasks such as ground attack. That is why in the USSR it was decided to create two aircraft at once (Su-30 and MiG-29 for instance).
In addition, having mastered technologies and processes while developing the Su-57, the development timeframe of the stealth MiG-XX could be compressed into a few years.
Countries which are looking for a cheaper and lighter version of big stealth jets and modern alternatives to 4++ generation fighters such as the F-16 could be a market for this type of jet.