Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG)

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Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG)

Bld.7, 1st Botkinsky proyezd
Moscow, 125284
Telephone: (095) 252-8652
Fax: (095) 250-0770
Web site:

State-Owned Company
Employees: 14,500
Sales: $1 billion (2001 est.)
NAIC: 336411 Aircraft Manufacturing; 54171 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG) is Russias first vertically integrated aircraft manufacturer. The name MiG, from the design bureaus founders Mikoyan and Gurevich, became synonymous in the West with Russian jet fighters. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the design bureau underwent a number of reorganizations to make it more efficient. MiG has delivered aircraft to more than 50 nations outside Russia. RAC MiG has the rare freedom to independently conduct trade with foreign countries.


The story of the Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG) can be started in 1893, when the DUX factory was established in Moscow. Its first products were bicycles, then trolleys and automobiles. In 1909 DUX began building foreign-designed aircraft under license. Its annual production approached 500 planes by 1917.

In the 1920s, an aircraft manufacturing facility dubbed GAZ No. 1 was established next to the DUX plant. While in the West a single company would typically own design and production facilities, under the Soviet model, factories routinely built aircraft from different design bureaus. GAZ No. 1 produced planes from the countrys leading designers such as A. S. Yakovlev, S. V. Ilyushin, V. M. Petlyakov, and Nikolai Nikolayevich Polikarpov, the latter of whom was perhaps most closely associated with GAZ No. 1. In 1927 the plant started building Polikarpovs Po-2 aircraft (originally dubbed U-2), which was one of the countrys most popular training aircraft.

In the 1930s, stressed steel construction was beginning to replace fabric and wood in high performance aircraft. Polikarpov was said to have preferred biplanes like his I-15, though the subsequent I-16 monoplane series had become one of the countrys main front line fighters.

By 1939 it was apparent that the Soviet Union needed a new aircraft to counter threats such as the Messerschmitt Bf109 of Germany. A new experimental design department, or OKO, was assembled to quickly produce a fast fighter aircraft. The answer was first known as Project Kh, after the Cyrillic letter X. It was renamed I-200 and ultimately became known as the MiG-1.

The basis for what would become the MiG-1 was borrowed from the Polikarpov design bureau, which was also the source of many personnel, including Artyom I. Mikoyan, who was chosen to lead the new unit. A talented designer, the Armenian native was also the brother of Anastas Mikoyan, was a rising political leader in the Politburo. Mikoyan agreed to accept leadership on the condition that he have as his deputy the Ukrainian-born designer Mikhail Gurevich; the initial letters of their last names form the famous MiG moniker.

The new OKO was formally created on December 8, 1939. In March 1940, it was designated a proper OKB, or experimental construction bureau, while the Polikarpov OKB was relocated to GAZ No. 51. GAZ No. 1 and the new OKB, like other aircraft facilities, were moved east as the Nazi invasion threatened Moscow in October 1941. While both returned to Moscow after a few months, the MiG design bureau, dubbed OKB-155, was moved to the site of a plant called GAZ No. 155. These grounds were in a rundown condition when first occupied, but they were soon renovated and continued to house the operation for decades.

The first MiG made its maiden flight on April 4, 1940. Though the MiG-1 and its derivative, the MiG-3, proved successful in the early days of the war, in the latter part the aircraft of rival designers such as Ilyushin, Lavochkin, and Yakovlev were given precedence. That would change in the jet age.


The Soviets lagged behind Germany, Great Britain, and the United States in producing jet aircraft since they lacked practical power plants. Work using primitive German engines resulted in MiG and rival Sukhoi producing jet prototypes by 1946. Britains postwar Labour government, friendly to the Reds, helped matters further when they provided 25 state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce jet engines after the war.

The MiG OKB exploited the technology in these powerful new engines with a startlingly successful aircraft, the MiG-15, which first flew toward the end of 1947. This was followed by an enhanced version called the MiG-17. More than 20,000 of these models were produced. Henceforth, MiG fighters would be at the forefront of the Soviet Unions tactical arsenal (rivals Yakovlev and Sukhoi became more involved with larger, all-weather interceptors and ground attack aircraft).

Advanced fighters such as the supersonic MiG-19 and the MiG-21, capable of flying twice the speed of sound, gave the North Atlantic Treaty Organization a credible threat through the 1960s and 1970s. MiG designers pioneered such cutting-edge technologies as the variable geometry wing, or swing-wing, which appeared in the late 1960s in the MiG-23.

Thousands of these aircraft found their way to the air forces of 56 different nations, not just Soviet satellites but Third World countries interested in the fighters as a more economical or politically acceptable alternative to jets made in the United States or Western Europe. They were also manufactured under license by countries such as China, Czechoslovakia, and India.

Artyom Mikoyan died in December 1970. Taking his place as head of the OKB was Rostislav Apollosovich Belyakov, his first deputy (Gurevich had retired in 1964 after being assigned to a top secret winged missile project).

One of the companys most important aircraft, the MiG-29, was introduced in 1977. The MiG-29 incorporated state-of-the-art design trends such as the concept that an aircrafts fuselage could be shaped to add lift beyond the wing area. The incredibly maneuverable, versatile aircraft and its derivatives would remain in production for decades to come. Another interesting project underway in the 1980s involved producing the head section and engine controls for the Buran, Russias equivalent of the space shuttle.


The Federal State Unitary Enterprise Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG is the first national aircraft manufacturer, incorporating within the framework of legal single entity profile organizations involved in the support of aircraft life cyclefrom design concept, drawing and engineering design, production of prototypes and their tests to marketing, series production and in-service technical support, as well as training of pilots, engineers and technicians.


The MiG OKB was reorganized into the A. I. Mikoyan ANPK (Aviation Scientific-Industrial Complex) in 1990. During the Cold War, MiG aircraft introduced a number of technological advances. The activities of the design bureau and its related factories were cloaked in secret until the opening of relations with the West in the 1990s.

The transition to a free market economy was difficult. In the world market, MiG faced competition not just from U.S. and European aircraft manufacturers, but from third parties such as Israel Aircraft Industries that were offering to upgrade venerable aircraft types such as the MiG-21. Nevertheless, by 1995 the Russians had managed to place more than 1,000 MiG-29 aircraft in service with 20 countries. Upgrades of these MiG-29s, as well as MiG-31s, also provided a valuable income stream.

In 1995 the Mikoyan ANPK was reorganized as a subsidiary of MAPO (Moscow Aircraft Scientific Production Organization), forming MAPO-MiG. MAPO was a group of 20 aviation plants centered in Moscow.

MiG continued to develop new aircraft concepts in the chaotic years following the breakup of the Soviet Union, such as the MiG A-T advanced trainer. However, new aircraft orders from the Russian military dried up during the 1990s.

In February 1999 Nikolai Nikitin was recruited from the Sukoi OKB, where he had led design of the Su-35, to lead MAPO-MiG. His predecessor, Mikhail Korzhuev, set up a firm called Russian Avionics that competed for upgrade work. It was a challenging time, with dozens of unsold MiG-29s languishing in its factories in various stages of completion. Nikitins goal was to restructure the company and accomplish more civilian aviation work. MiG-MAPO was renamed MiG Russian Aircraft Corp. in 2000. It then employed 2,500 people at the design bureau and another 12,500 or so in the rest of the organization.


In 2001, a turning point for the company, sales approached $1 billion, nearly ten times the previous years figure. To get the production lines moving, reported Interavia Business & Technology, MiG sold three dozen half-finished planes to poorer countries such as Sudan and Bangladesh. Another auspicious development was Vladimir Putins interest in new aircraft for the Russian military.

MiGs order book was worth $2.6 billion at the end of 2006 and was expected to reach $4 billion the following year. One of its biggest customers was India, which was acquiring dozens of new fighters for its navy and air force.

MiG had begun to produce a range of civil aircraft. These included the MiG-110 and MiG-201 light planes and a piston-engine utility aircraft designed by Ilyushin called the Il-103, as well as a civil model from MiGs Kamov helicopter unit. MiG was also in charge of constructing most of the new Tupolev Tu-334 100-passenger airliner. The tiny Aviatika might have seen an unlikely project for a company better known for its supersonic fighters, but it recalled the Oktyabryonok ultralight Artyom Mikoyan built just three years before joining the design bureau that would bear his name.

Frederick C. Ingram


Aerospace Technologies Support Center (Malaysia, 10%); Elektroavtomatika Design Bureau; JSC Aviatest Scientific and Technical Enterprise; JSC Chernyshev Moscow Machine-Building Enterprise); JSC Kamov; JSC Krasniy Oktyabr; JSC MiG-MGA; JSC MiG-Resurs; JSC MiG-Rost; JSC Pribor Corporation; MAPS (Germany, 50%); Soyuz Machine-Building Design Bureau of Tushino; State Ryazan Instrument Building Plant; SUE V.Ya. Klimov Plant.


DUX factory established in Moscow, producing first bicycles, then trolleys and automobiles.
DUX begins building foreign-designed aircraft under license.
MiG established from existing Polikarpov design bureau.
Revolutionary MiG-15 jet fighter first appears.
MiG-21 fighter, capable of Mach 2, launched.
Swing-wing MiG-23 fighter enters production.
Ultra-maneuverable MiG-29 fighter introduced.
MiG OKB was reorganized as the A. I. Mikoyan ANPK.
Mikoyan ANPK merges with MAPO (Moscow Aircraft Scientific Production Organization) to form MAPO-MiG.
Firm renamed Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG).
Order book totals $2.6 billion.


A.I. Mikoyan Design Bureau (Engineering Center); P.A. Voronin Production Center; Aircraft Logistic Support Center; A.V. Fedotov Flight-Test Center.


Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd.; Russian Avionics Co.; Sukhoi Company JSC.


Belyakov, R. A., and J. Marmain, MiG: Fifty Years of Secret Aircraft Design, Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1994.

Biography of New General Director of Russian MiG Aviation Concern, BBC Monitoring Former Soviet UnionPolitical (ITAR-TASS), February 2, 1999.

Butowski, Piotr, The Year of the MiG-29: In 2001, RAC MiG Had Its Best Year in the Post-Soviet Era, Interavia Business & Technology, March 2002, p. 22.

Fricker, John, MiG-29 Modernization Projects Seek World Export Sales, Military Technology, February 1, 2002, p. 24.

Gunston, Bill, and Yefim Gordon, MiG Aircraft Since 1937, Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Komarov, Alexey, Restructured MiG Faces Rocky Road, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 17, 2000, p. 429.

MAPO Is Ready to Fight for the World Aircraft Market, Kommersant, July 6, 1995, p. 9.

MiG and MAPO Were Merged into a New Aviation Research and Production Complex, Izvestiia, May 18, 1995, p. F2.

Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG), General Information on RAC MiG, Moscow: Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG), 2007.

Russians Accuse West of Fighting Dirty in Combat Aircraft Market, Aerospace Daily, June 16, 1993, p. 462.

Russias MiG Sees Order Portfolio Topping $4 Bln by Year-End, Prime-Tass English-Language Business Newswire, February 12, 2007.

Zavarsky, Leonid, and Andrei Bystrov, MiGs Are Flying Towards the Competitors, Defense & Security (Kommersant-Daily ), December 10, 1999.

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