Owner of some of the most produced single-engine supersonic fighters in history, such as the MiG-21 and MiG-23, Russia is developing a new light fighter plane, announced Rostec, a state-owned technology corporation.
However, the studies are being funded by itself, with no government resources yet. “Indeed, work is underway to develop a combat aviation system of the future in its light and medium classes. Under the design, this may be a universal platform in the manned and unmanned versions. The company is working on the concept and the operational requirements We are doing this on our own initiative so far, without budget funds,” Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, told TASS.
Without giving details of the project, Chemezov considered that the 5th generation fighter could be developed in partnership with other countries. Three years ago, statements by an executive from UAC (which is linked to Rostec) pointed out that the aircraft could be designed with the support of Sukhoi and MiG.
In contrast to the Su-57, a twin-engine stealth fighter that is in production, the new fighter plane would have a simple design and would use the RD-33 engine that equips the MiG-29. With an affordable price, the future aircraft could be exported to countries that have a good relationship with Russia.
The Russian Air Force, on the other hand, could also be interested in the future fighter in order to fill a gap left by the MiG-23, MiG-27 and Su-17 retired in the 90s, according to a decision from the Air Force Command at the time.
While Russia did not continue with the development of new single-engine fighters, several other countries continued to invest in this configuration, the most notable of which in the US with the Lockheed Martin F-35, but also China with the Chegdu J-10.
Currently, the Chinese already compete in number of fighter planes with the Russians and must surpass them with ample margin in the future thanks to the programs currently under development and the abundance of financial resources.