MiG and Yakovlev are battling for a potential advanced trainer contract to replace up to 1 000 Aero L-29 and L-39 trainers in CIS air force service. There is also wider interest in their designs in the export market. MiG MAPO's contender is the MiG AT (Advanced Trainer). Although relatively orthodox, the straight-wing design is claimed to have the same high-Alpha handling as the MiG-29.
The MiG AT is being developed as a joint venture with Turbomeca and SNECMA for the Larzac engine and Sextant Avionique for the avionics. Mikoyan has built three flying prototypes for the initial fly-off evaluation. The first prototype represents the ATF basic trainer version for the export market, with a modified version of Sextant's Topflight modular avionics suite. The second is the MiG ATR trainer standards, with Russian avionics. The third is the prototype for the MiG ATS combat-capable trainer. It has a helmet-mounted target designation system, provision for seven external hardpoints (in place of the basic trainer's three) and a variety of centreline targeting pods. The as-yet unbuilt MiG AS will be a single-seater, described as being analogous to the BAE Hawk 200.
Mikoyan is also offering any MiG AT variant with folding wings, arrestor hook, and strengthened landing gear. All variants use a high proportion of Russian systems and equipment. The first prototype made its maiden flight in March 1996. By 2001 all three prototypes had flown and initial series production of a further 16 aircraft was well under way. The future of the MiG AT remains uncertain, with much still to be decided. However, Mikoyan has marketed the aircraft aggressively. The MiG AT lost out to the BAE Systems Hawk in its first competition in South Africa.