THE FUTURE of Mikoyan's next-generation air-superiority aircraft, Article 1.42, is being questioned as budget problems continue seriously to hamper the project.

The first prototype of the aircraft still languishes in a hangar at the Zhukovsky flight-test research centre months after the completion of taxi trials and months after its impending first flight was announced by the design bureau.

The future of Mikoyan is inextricably linked to the 1.42, and to the design bureau's MiG-AT jet trainer, which was rolled out on 18 May in Moscow.

Anatoly Belosvet, acting chief designer at Mikoyan, has already expressed his concern over the lack of funding available for the 1.42 programme.

Giving evidence to a Russian parliamentary hearing on the future of the aerospace industry recently, the Mikoyan chief designer expressed concern over the number of disparate military programmes being pursued.

He claims that Russia would struggle to bring such a number of projects to fruition, given the severe constraints on funding.

The parliamentary hearings are believed to have resulted in two reports which are now being circulated among senior Russian politicians.

In a further attempt to assure its future, Mikoyan has effectively been merged with the MAPO production factory in Moscow which produces the MiG-29 Fulcrum.

MAPO is completing delivery of 18 MiG-29 Fulcrums to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. According to MAPO figures, it has produced 60 MiG-29s for export over the past two years for Hungary, India, Iran, Malaysia, Romania and Slovakia.

Source: Flight International