The Mikoyan Project 1.44/1.42 is a 5th generation jet technology demonstrator developed by the Mikoyan Design Bureau. Apart from a number of names along the lines of "Object/Project 1.44/1.42", the aircraft is also known as the MiG-MFI. Unofficially known for a time as "MiG-35", MiG is now using this designation for the export version of the MiG-29OVT. Despite the non-production status of the 1.44/1.42, NATO has assigned the reporting name "Flatpack" to this aircraft.
The 1.44 was Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau's entry to Russia's Многофункциональный Фронтовой Истребитель (Mnogofounksionalni Frontovoi Istrebitel - Multifunctional Frontline Fighter) program (a development program that originated in the 1980s, similar to the Advanced Tactical Fighter program held in the United States). It was designed to compete with the American Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. Many of its design features are similar to those found on fifth generation Western fighters, including supersonic cruise and modern avionics. Looking back upon its development history, the 1.44 served purely as a technological showcase and testbed for future aircraft designs, not as an actual air superiority fighter prototype.
The MiG 1.44 has been shrouded in mystery throughout the course of its existence. The Russian government cancelled the MFI program in 1997 due to the unacceptably high per-unit cost of the aircraft (Ф2.05 billion RUR, US$70 million). Development continued, with the first test flight taking place on February 29, 2000 and two confirmed test flights in 2001. After the cancellation of the MFI program the PAK FA (Перспективный Авиационный Комплекс Фронтовой Авиации - Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsyi - Prospective Air Complex for Tactical Air Forces) program was initiated in order to develop an aircraft designed to fill a role similar to that of the F-22, and come at a size and cost similar to that of the F-35 Lightning II.
In 2001, India agreed with Russia to make the PAK FA program a development/production joint-venture between the two nations. Both Mikoyan-Gurevich and Sukhoi submitted concepts to the Defense Ministry for the PAK FA program (MiG entering an updated Project 1.44), but the Russian Defense Ministry selected the Sukhoi Design Bureau as the primary contractor for the PAK FA fighter. Design work has commenced on a backward-swept winged derivative of Sukhoi's experimental Su-47 Berkut aircraft. PAK FA proves to be a very ambitious program, with production of the PAK FA fighter planned to commence in 2010. MiG-MAPO and Yakovlev have also been mentioned as secondary contractors. The MiG 1.44 formerly served as a technology demonstrator for the PAK FA program. The in-development PAK FA aircraft will use the same in-development Lyulka AL-41F engine planned for the 1.44.
It is powered by two Lyulka AL-41F afterburning, thrust vectored turbofan jet engines, each generating 175 kN (39,340 lbf) of thrust (these engines are still in development). Both engines are fed by a single air intake placed under the fuselage. The 35-ton aircraft has a theoretical at-altitude maximum speed of Mach 2.6, and is capable of long-term supersonic flight. The 1.44 has a tricycle landing gear system, with a single, dual-wheel landing gear in the front, and two single-wheels in the rear.
Avionics on the 1.44 are considered cutting-edge by Western standards: the glass-cockpit-enabled fighter features a pulse Doppler radar with a passive electronically scanned array antenna. The radar system is linked to a fire control system that allows the fighter to engage up to twenty separate targets at the same time.
Note: Since the 1.44 never went beyond pre-production, most of the specifications are estimated.