The MiG-44 Falco is an advanced fighter developed in the Union of Yuktobanian Republics. (Image is of the prototype, which lacks COFFIN)
In 2019, after the end of the Erusian Civil War and upon seeing the performance of the joint Osean-General Resources-Neucom XF-22C Raptor II prototype, Yuktobania was in need of a new high-performance fighter, and fast; no expense was spared, as they wanted the aircraft to be built and in production as soon as possible. A major company known as Okchabursk Technologies (the Ace Combat analogue to the Mikoyan-Gurevich, or MiG bureau) was contracted to build it, and came up with a design that was simply a modified MiG-1.44. By doubling the power of the engines, incorporating three-dimensional thrust vectoring and an advanced COFFIN flight computer based on the ZOE computer used in the original ADF-01A, this new aircraft, the MiG-44, became the premier fighter of the Yuktobanian Air Force along with the Su-47 and Su-50. Codenamed 'Falcon' by the Oseans for its high speed, the MiG-44 can hit speeds of Mach 4 at 70,000 feet, and with the addition of a lift fan (although not strong enough for vertical take-offs and landings, it reduced the amount of runway required for operation by 80%), became an extremely versatile fighter as it could operate from small runways designed for private civilian aircraft (This became the reason why Aurelia purchased the fighter, as all their major airbases were overrun in 2020).
However, it has its vices; even with the COFFIN system, the aircraft was extremely difficult to handle, mainly because pilots were not accustomed to the v2.0 COFFIN's neural interface, which required a pilot's total concentration. Despite this, the first squadron to recieve the fighter, Kvant, reported it to be a joy to fly once one got used to its quirks.
Actual use of the aircraft was limited due to high production costs limiting the number that could be built and deployed, the first time it was used being the Leaseth-Aurelia War. The only squadron known to use it was the 119th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Aurelian Air Force, better known as 'Draco'. The lead pilot, named Ezio Martinez (in truth, this was the alias of the wanted war criminal and top ace, Erik Felsen), reported that 'this aircraft, although certainly not perfect, is Aurelia's best counter to the advanced Leasath fighter, the Fenrir, as its performance is similar, if not superior to the Leasath aircraft'.
Later, the aircraft found itself in the inventories of both General Resource Limited and UPEO, for the former as a fast strike fighter (MiG-44V "Falcon-B") and the latter as an interceptor (MiG-44U "Falcon-C"), each one specifically modified for their intended roles. Both saw use in the 2045 Corporate War, with attrition rates varying based on model. The model that suffered the most losses were GR's Falcon-Bs, which being modified as strike fighters had heavier payloads and armor, which reduced its performance drastically and made it easy prey at low altitude for Neucom fighters like the R-301. The UPEO's Falcon-Cs didn't fair much better as they had been stripped of their thrust vectoring and other details to maximize their speed and were frequently forced into dogfights by GR and Neucom fighters, but the UPEO learned from their mistakes and modified some of their Falcon-Cs with new equipment to make them deadly air superiority fighters (MiG-44bis "Falcon-D"). Unfortunately, most of these wound up in Ouroboros' hands part of the way through the war with the collapse of UPEO.
One UPEO, later Ouroboros squadron, callsign Wywyrm, became a particular proponent of the MiG-44, starting out with the Falcon-C and despite the lack of mobility were able to use its speed advantage to its fullest, and once equipped with the Falcon-D were able to match GR and Neucom's best squadrons in one-on-one combat. Their flight lead, Arrik Felsen, alone ended the war with 87 kills, making him the fifth-scoring ace of the conflict, behind Neucom's Cynthia Fitzgerald (90 kills), General Resource's Keith Bryan (94 kills), UPEO's Rena Hirose (101 kills) and General Resource's Abyssal Dision (110 kills). Felsen's input regarding the Falcon-D's performance in combat (as well as its shortcomings when used in the ground attack role) led to the development of the Falcon-E, a multirole fighter that ultimately replaced all variants, with upgrades from previous ones to the new standard being available; the primary operators of the Falcon-E were the Union of Yuktobanian Republics, UPEO SARF and the Belkan Waldreich.
- 119th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Draco" (AAF)
- Wywyrm Air Command Squadron (UPEO SARF/Ouroboros/Belkan Waldreich) (ACX3: Blaze of Glory)
- 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Ofnir" (Belkan Waldreich) (ACX3: Blaze of Glory)
- 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Kvant" (YAF) (ACX3: Blaze of Glory)
Stats (Second Production Version used by Draco, Prototype's stats are identical to the MiG-1.44 in Ace Combat 5)
- Speed: 100
- Mobility: 92
- Stability: 80
- Defense: 84
- Air-to-Air: 90
- Air-to-Ground: 40
- Missile Count: 86
- Special Weapons: XLAA (16), QAAM (18), SOD (14)