The Project 1.44 was born at the same time as the Su-47, unfortunately both aircraft did not qualify for mass production.
The MiG 1.44 was once expected to be a competitor to the US F-22 Raptor, but failed when the PAK FA program was introduced. It was born as a technology demonstrator developed by the Mikoyan design bureau. Project 1.44 was the Soviet Union’s answer to the U.S.’s Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF), incorporating many fifth-generation jet fighter aspects such as advanced avionics, stealth technology, supermaneuverability, and supercruise.
The design’s development was a protracted one, characterised by repeated and lengthy postponements due to a chronic lack of funds. The MiG 1.44 made its maiden flight in February 2000, nine years behind schedule, and was cancelled later that year.
The fighter jet has only a single seat. It had a length of 19 meters, a wingspan of 15 meters, and a height of 4.5 meters. The Mig 1.44 had an empty weight of 18 tons, and a maximum takeoff weight of up to 35 tons.
The MiG 1.44 was powered by two Lyulka AL-41F afterburning turbofan engines, producing 176 kN each with afterburner. The aircraft could reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.24, a range of 4,000 km, and a service ceiling of 17,000 meters.
The fighter was equipped with a glass cockpit and features a Pulse-Doppler radar. The N014 radar, with a range of 420 km (260 mi) and target detection from 250 km (160 mi) to one metre (3.3 ft), was able to track up to 40 targets and shoot against 20. The radar system has a passive electronically scanned array antenna and is linked to a fire-control system.
Some analysts said that the failure of the MiG-1.44 was due to Russia’s limited defense budget at that time, which did not allow the country to develop two fifth generation fighter projects at the same time. MiG-1.44 lost to the Su-57 partly because the Sukhoi’s financial capacity was much stronger than that of Mikoyan. Sukhoi fighters such as the Su-27/30 were selling well, while the MiG-29 had fallen behind. The lack of money prevented Mikoyan from continuing with Project 1.44.
Now that Russia’s economic potential has grown to a new level, they can completely continue the MiG-1.44 fighter project, if they wish. There is also an opinion that, instead of pouring money into the MiG-1.44, Russia only needs to speed up the completion of the Su-57.
There is also information that Russia sold the technology on the MiG-1.44 to China to build the J-20. Defense Aviation magazine said that even though Project 1.44 was frozen, the jet still caught the attention of China. Excess money but lack of technology, Beijing for a long time sought to buy Soviet and Russian technology.