When US created the F-22, Russia responded with the Flatpack

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PANAGYURISHTE, BULGARIA — Today’s modern fighter jets are the product of details from past designs. For the F-35 to exist, there had to be an F-22 Raptor before it. Today’s MiG-35 is the successor to the infamous Cold War hegemon MiG-29.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The post-WWII arms race led to hundreds of new weapons designs. However, some have been forgotten. However, they are the basis of Russian, even American modern combat aviation. For example, did you know that Yakovlev Design Bureau and Lockheed Martin collaborated in the 1990s? Many experts suggest that the funding of the Americans was aimed at acquiring the secrets of the Yak-141. Today it is claimed that the rotor nozzle of the F-35 engine is of original Russian design.

We leave such claims aside. But we hope you get the idea – modern technology dates back to old designs, both from the US and Russia. Let us introduce you to the unknown Russian MiG 1.44 Flatpack fighter, which was supposed to be the Russian answer to the American F-22 Raptor.

Designed in the late 1990s, the MiG 1.44 made its first flight in 2000. It was built in five prototypes, the first being the original MiG 1.44, while the other two were upgraded prototype versions of the fighter.

According to the Russians, if they are to be believed, this aircraft was designed to do everything the F-22 Raptor does. On paper, the MiG 1.44 is stealthy and maneuverable. The second statement is probably true because the Russian design is centered in the historical DNA of the Russians – fighting at close range.

Photo credit: Pixabay

As for the stealth technology, the MiG 1.44 probably does not correspond reciprocally to the same in the F-22 Raptor. The Russians hope to reduce the weight of their fighter. They are said to have achieved this by saving some materials in the fighter’s wings and fuselage. However, it was there that the salvaged materials were replaced with others that the Russians claimed were radio absorbers. Experts say Russian engineers have taken great care to redesign places where they are supposed to be visible to enemy radars. For example, wing edges and engine intakes.

However, some features seriously question the stealth capabilities of the MiG 1.44. For example, those little wings that are behind or under the cockpit. They are known by their name canards. They play their role in certain scenarios, but we won’t elaborate on them now. So these canards are generally not compatible with the stealth design.

An expert from Popular Science says that to recover the plane’s attitude after an extreme attitude, the canards need to be large in area. Their size is a problem in their design for “invisibility”. “This is due to the additional surfaces that can return radar signals — more surfaces, more return,” says the expert.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Although the MiG 1.44 is said to be a response to the F-22 Raptor, there are quite a few differences between the two designs. For example, the tail of the F-22 is hidden behind the wing. This minimizes the radar visibility of “hot spots” such as the wings and tail. However, the MiG 1.44 has incorrect wing alignment. I.e. The MiG 1.44 does not follow the American concept at all, which on the one hand is good because it is not copied, but on the other hand, it is bad because it does not solve the problem of the invisibility of the aircraft.

Aviation experts and engineers give examples of such claims. For example, looking at the MiG 1.44 from behind clearly shows the divergence of the two canards. I.e. they are not in the same plane, like the wings of the plane itself. Thus, the MiG 1.44 itself compromises the stealth characteristics of its design.

It can be said that the Russian response to the F-22 Raptor is a pale attempt by the Russians to meet the American challenge. Weaponry, for example, is another reason for this claim. If you have paid attention, as with the F-22, there are no missile pods on the wings. Everything is stored in the armory separately. I.e. in the belly of the plane. However, the MiG 1.44 has several missile pods on the wings. Thus, it is absurd to talk about any stealth characteristics.

The MiG 1.44 is Russia’s first attempt at stealth. Late, relative to Washington, and just as unsuccessful. But it seems that Russians have a hard time learning, even though they have the opportunity to do it on an equal basis with anyone else. Let’s take the Su-57. When Russia began to claim that this fighter was stealthy, a few weeks later it became clear that it was all illuminated by a simple air defense radar. The reason: instead of rivets on the wings, the Russians used bolts.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

I.e. if we look at the MiG 1.44 and the Su-57 over their time range it is clear that it is easier to talk about stealth than to do it. Because the Su-57 was accompanied by many problems before reaching its level today. Russia’s first F-22 response was unsuccessful. Whether the second [Su-57 vs. F-35] answer will be – only time will tell.


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