After Sukhoi’s LTS ‘Checkmate’ stealth fighter unveiling, MiG Design Bureau showed the model of a light single-engine jet at the MAKS 2021 air show which could be a possible replacement for the venerable MiG-21.
The scale model has similarities to the Yak-130 combat- trainer, an aircraft known for its aerodynamic characteristics and unlike the MiG-21, a single engine aircraft built for speed.
From the shape of the scale model, it could be positioned as trainer-light attack jet, an increasingly popular option among some countries with tight budgets. While MiG executives at the MAKS 2021 event did not provide any details about the aircraft, it was revealed earlier that MiG Design Bureau has set up a new division to develop an all-new light fighter jet.
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russia (which owns both MiG and Sukhoi) is banking on Sukhoi’s LTS ‘Checkmate’ to drive international sales thanks to it positioning as a F-35 alternative at F-16 price. However, the new MiG-XX could be positioned even lower.
Its target market could be countries that are currently considering the Chinese-Pakistani JF-17, a MiG-21 modification that has found sales success in Pakistan, Nigeria and Myanmar. Another possible competitor could be Korea Aerospace Industries’ T-50 jet built for both trainer and light attack roles.
Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC) is developing an upgraded engine of the RD93 which powers the JF-17. The new engine, designated RD93MA, is currently undergoing tests. It is quite possible that the new MiG-XX could use the RD93MA engine that offers about 20% more thrust than the RD93.
Simultaneous development of the LTS Checkmate jet and the single-engine MiG-XX could bring down costs for both. What we know from Rostec chief, Sergei Chemezov is that the LTS Checkmate has reached the prototype stage. It is not know if the MiG-XX has progressed beyond the scale model stage.