Will the all-new Russian single engine stealth fighter jet to be unveiled on July 20 be designated as MiG-XX or will it have a Su-XX designation continuing under the Sukhoi lineage like the Su-57?
From images appearing on social media during the run-up to the MAKS 2021 event, a new aircraft under tight covers shows the contours an airplane similar to the Su-57 in shape but smaller and with a single engine.
MiG and Sukhoi have concurrent model numbers. Current top model designation within the MiG range is the MiG-35 which matches with the Su-35, the top –of-the-line non-stealth model of the Sukhoi range. While MiG and Sukhoi have been merged under the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) banner, they continue to have independent product lines.
The announcement of the launch of an all-new fighter jet has been made by UAC without giving any clue as to whether it will be produced under the MiG or Sukhoi banners. “The premiere of the UAC home air show will be the presentation of the new aircraft, which will take place on July 20, the first day of MAKS-2021,” is all that UAC has revealed so far along with a teaser video of what looks like a fighter jet.
Traditionally, Sukhoi makes heavy fighter bombers such as the Su-35 and Su-30 while MiG manufactures light, more agile fighters such as the MiG-29 and MiG-35. As the new jet is known to be lighter version of the Su-57, it could fly under the MiG banner.
Interestingly, a Light Multi-Purpose Frontline Aircraft Program Directorate (LMPFA) has been set up at the MiG Aircraft Corporation under the leadership of Musheg Baloyan who also director of the MiG-29M and MiG-35 aircraft programs, according to a May 6 TASS report. "The MiG-35 is at the stage of state joint trials and a preliminary certificate has been obtained for launching the production of a pilot batch of the aircraft,” Baloyan had commented.
Is the LMPFA of MiG the mystery new aircraft program or is there a parallel development by Sukhoi Design Bureau of downscaling the Su-57 to create the new jet? “Sukhoi Aircraft Company is developing the first Russian single-engine light tactical fighter with the supersonic speed capability and low radar signature,” TASS had reported earlier this year.
UAC classifies the MiG-35 as a 4++ generation jet incorporating (some) fifth generation technologies such as reduced radar signature. So is the LMPFA being developed in parallel to the MiG-35 picking some of its technologies and some others from the Su-57?
An industry source told defenseworld.net that the event on July 20 will be a roll-out of the all new aircraft. “Once the black covers are taken off you will see a stealth paint scheme similar to the Su-57” the source said.