This year's MosAero show on 22-27 August at Zhukovsky is likely to have its fair share of debutantes.

MIKOYAN'S ARTICLE 1.42, otherwise known as the mnogufunktsionalnny frontovoi istrebityel (multi-function fighter), may be wheeled out into the public gaze at the end of this month, at the MosAero show at Zhukovsky, about 45km (25 miles) southeast of Moscow.

While the 1.42 will steal the show (should Mikoyan be given the go-ahead by the Russia defence ministry to unveil it), there will also be other likely debutantes on view. Sukhoi will display the Su-35 aircraft 711, the first to be fitted with thrust-vectoring nozzles. Ilyushin will be touting its stretched and re-engine Il-76MF freighter, which was flown for the first time earlier in the month. Tupolev, meanwhile, may give its Tu-334 short-range twinjet its first outing into the public arena.


The 1.42 is, or at least was, intended to be at the core of the Russian air force's twenty-first century fighter fleet. Anatoly Belosvet, now effectively the head of the bureau, has said on Russian television that he hopes to show the aircraft.

The sudden rush to provide the 1.42 with the oxygen of publicity appears to have everything to do with the considerable question mark hanging over the future of the project.

Development began as far back as 1983, with a first-flight date initially projected for around 1991. Technical delays, and latterly serious funding difficulties, have led to the project having to be repeatedly rescheduled. Fast taxi trials of the aircraft, have been carried out, but as yet, it is not believed to have been flown.

A central topic at the show, irrespective of whether the 1.42 is on static display or not, will be its fate, along with that of other VVS projects. Such issues have recently occupied the attentions of two high-level parliamentary committees. So far, the only apparent decision, which has resulted from these, was to the benefit of Mikoyan. After a three-year hiatus, funding is being made available to complete what amounts to a mid-life update for the MiG-29M Fulcrum, which is likely to be flown at the show, as well as being on static display.

While Mikoyan has been striving to show the 1.42, it is uncertain whether the MiG-31M Foxhound B will be given its first show appearance. Although six prototypes have been completed, Mikoyan remains reticent about discussing the project.

Intended for the Russian air-defence forces, this programme's future looks to be in considerable doubt, although it may be being used as an integration testbed for the air-to-air missiles and radar for the 1.42.

Sukhoi, which will not want to be outdone by Mikoyan, will have at least one of its two Su-34s and one Su-27IB prototype strike aircraft on display, as well as the thrust-vectoring Su-35. The Su-34, which had its debut at Paris 95 under the unusual Su-32FN designation, is intended to replace the Su-24 Fencer in the strike role.

Within the civil and military aerospace sectors there is a continuing move towards rationalisation. Mikoyan will be flying under the MiG-MAPO banner, for instance, having merged with its main Moscow manufacturing plant.

Visitors will be looking to see whether moves towards a more Western style of design, development and production are showing any signs of bringing the hoped-for benefits.

Of special interest to attendees, particularly from the West, will be whether there are any signs that the civil and military manufacturers understand the new economic realities.

Belosvet, for one, has already made it clear that he considers there to be far too many under-funded military programmes, still being drip fed by the air force. In calling for a rationalisation among air force projects, however, he has not volunteered to sacrifice any MiG programmes.

On the civil side, the much-vaunted Western collaborative programmes have yet to produce anything genuinely concrete. Rolls-Royce is on the brink of gaining Russian certification with the RB.211-powered Tupolev Tu-204, while Pratt & Whitney continues to pursue programmes with engine-design house Perm on its PS-90 family, and with Ilyushin on the Il-96M. Beriev's Be-200 amphibian could also have its debut at the show.


While Tupolev, Ilyushin and Yakovlev continue to produce paper successors to their present design range, the likelihood of these projects ever coming to fruition remains remote in the current climate.

One absentee will be the Ukrainian Antonov An-70. The aircraft was first flown at the end of 1994, only for the prototype to be lost in a fatal accident. Antonov has been struggling to use the static-fatigue test rig as the basis for a second aircraft.

While MosAero'95 may be short on hard orders, it will not be short of interest. The static line will undoubtedly harbour some surprises, as will the display halls.

Source: Flight International