Appointing a Sukhoi man to the top position at RSK MiG is becoming a tradition. On November 4 the Russian government named Valery Toryanin, deputy general director at Sukhoi, as RSK MiG general director and general designer. Toryanin, 53, is a graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute and joined Sukhoi after a 20-year military career in various agencies involved with military exports.
“Stealth does not make you invisible,” said the Russian designer sitting across the table at an out-of-the way institute in Moscow. “It makes an aircraft more survivable–but the concept that it is the only path to increasing the survivability of a military aircraft is wrong. We have taken a different approach from the U.S.”
Russia’s RSK MiG continues to offer new members of the MiG-29 family of multifunctional fighters, including the MiG-29K/KUB, the-29M/M2 and the -29SMT. They feature digital multichannel fly-by-wire systems, color liquid-crystal multifunction displays and hands-on throttle and stick controls.
The Mikoyan MiG-29 carries a reputation as one of the most capable fighter aircraft ever designed, but to keep the revered Russian warplane on the cutting edge, new technology needs to be applied to the marque. Russian and foreign firms have made numerous proposals over the past 12 years, but none of them have ever reached a stage that even approaches Lockheed-Martin F-16’s midlife upgrade program.
There are those in Russia who ask if the state’s plan to create a Unified Aircraft Corporation is a 21st century repeat of Stalin’s failed collectivization experiment of the late 1920s.
As competition to meet demands for advanced jet trainers in the region intensifies, Irkut is promoting the Yak-130 now entering production to meet a Russian Air Force requirement. Selected in 2002 as the principal aircraft for basic and advanced training, the Yak-130 has only recently begun rolling off the Irkut production line against an initial order for 12.
The next generation of the Russian MiG-29 fighter will now be marketed and sold under the new designator of MiG-35, as it is a distinctly new-technology, four-plus generation aircraft. This version of the multi-role fighter is a modern-day evolution of the MiG-29M-9.15 design concept aircraft that was first introduced in the early 1990s.
Both China’s J-10 fighter and the Indian air force Bakhadur MiG-27ML fighter bomber are set to be re-engined with two new variations of the Russian Salyut AL-31FN engines–the AL-31FN M1 and the 99-3, respectively.
“Russians play chess and Americans play poker,” was the oft-repeated phrase used during the Cold War to describe how the two sides approached the development of their military establishments. Russian designers tended to look very long-term, building significant growth capacity into their platforms and anticipating that requirements would alter significantly over the 40 years that has become the average life span for a modern jet fighter.
EADS has teamed with Russia’s NPK Irkut and RSK MiG in a joint venture to convert Airbus A320 airliners into freighters. The new business–owned 50/50 between the European group and the Russian firms– is expected to generate $200 million in sales annually, based on around 20 A320F conversions. If successful, the partners will later undertake conversions of the larger A330 family.