Alexander Velovich/Moscow

Mikoyan has started design work on a single-seat light strike, fighter derivative of the MiG-AT advanced jet trainer which it is offering to the Russian air force.

The MiG-ATB (B for Boyevoy or combat) is intended for competition with aircraft such as the British Aerospace Hawk 200 on the international market.

MiG officially rolled out the first prototype of the MiG-ATF on 18 May. The F designates that the aircraft is equipped with French cockpit avionics. The second prototype, the MiG-ATR, will have Russian avionics.

The aircraft will be on static display at the Paris air show, with a first flight expected in late June.

The first prototype is fitted with Snecma/Turbom‚ca/Larzac engines, but the future of this collaboration has still to be resolved say Russian sources.

Russian observers complain that the French company is asking for so much money that it makes the licence-production of the Larzac "economically unfeasible", unless export orders are secured.

The air force and the Central Institute of Aviation Engines, appear to have dropped objections to the aircraft being equipped with a Western powerplant.

Mikoyan hopes to offer the MiG-AT aircraft in trainer competitions in India and South Africa.

Source: Flight International