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General Designer and recognized academician, Rostislav Apollosovich Belyakov, took over the MiG Bureau in 1970 following the death of its founder, Anushavan "Artyom" Ivanovich Mikoyan (05Aug1905-09Dec1970). This was made possible because of Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich's (12. Jan 1893-12. Nov 1976) retirement in 1964. Belyakov was a graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute during World War II. He received a State Prize for design excellence in 1951, and was chief designer of the MiG-23 during the 1960's. Belyakov ran the Mikoyan establishment with four Chief Designers, of which Mikhail Romanovich Waldenberg and Anatoly Andreevich Belosvet were the most known in the west, and fourteen deputy Chief Designers. A new Department of Foreign Economic Relations was formed under Leonid Borisovich Leshchiner and his immediate deputy, Yuri Petrovich Golovin, and chartered to work with all of the potential export customers.
These names are mentioned because they show up regularly at the major international air shows and exhibitions. The "Mikoyan OKB", was founded in 1939 on Leningradskiy Shassi (highway) with a series of buildings and a small factory for use in building prototypes. The OKB was at first, as the title implies, strictly an R&D facility that built prototypes. The Mikoyan flight test center is located at Zhukovskiy (called Ramenskoye, or abbreviated "RAM" by western intelligence and used in the intelligence designation of new aircraft such as "RAM-K", "RAM-J", etc.) and at Volga, on the Crimean peninsula, and other facilities on a temporary basis. There has always been the question of why did the US intell organizations recognize Ramenskoye as the name of the test facility when the Russians have always addressed it as Zhukovskiy. When the facility first opened the town of Ramenskoye was the nearest population center. There was a worker's construction camp, named Zhukovskiy, that eventually grew into a larger town and became the nearest population center and official Russian name for the facility.
The Mikoyan OKB could hand tool up no more than two prototypes at one time and usually there were strict security precautions in place. Aircraft manufacturing for flight test articles would move to two production facilities, the closest of which was the Moscow Aircraft Production Organization No. 30 (MAPO), known also as the GAZ-30 plant. The second was the Nizhny Novgorod State Aircraft Plant or the "Znamya Truda" (Banner of Labor) factory which eventually re-organized under the corporate name of Sokol.
The MAPO facility is located in Moscow proper, on Botkinski Street, at the Khodinka bus stop. It is the oldest aircraft production facility in Russia, first utilized in 1909. During 1939, it was redesigned the State Aircraft Works No. 1. Today the factory is still run under Plant Director General Anatoly Sergyevich Manuyev who reports to Mikoyan's Chief Designer Waldenberg and Russian Air Force Plant Representative Colonel Viktor Isayenko. Note that Lenin's glass covered and pressurized casket was built here after his death in 1924.
MAPO employed at its peak up to 30,000 people with an additional 3,000 for non-aviation related production items. It covers over 618 acres of land and space. Production of the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27, and MiG-29 aircraft were all centered at this facility. Flight certification and delivery flights are conducted from Lukhovitsy airfield, which is close by and today occasionally hosts an international air display.
Once the aircraft are in production, the OKB is responsible for designing improvements based on requests and reports from the operational units designated by the air force. The overall design process is done in close collaboration with the Ministry of Aviation Industry (MAP), its Research Institutes (such as TsAGI the aero center), and the military customer. Flight Testing is done in three stages, "plant testing" (no military) at Zhukovskiy, "design testing" (with a mix of military pilots) at environmental facilities all over the country, and "state testing" (extensive military participation) at designated military installations where the aircraft become certified for use by the Air Forces.
During a visit to colleges and defense plants in the United States, Rostislav A. Belyakov candidly voiced his opinions on the objectives and lessons learned from the MiG-29 development program and they were published in "Some Aspects of the MiG Aircraft Development", Mikoyan Design Bureau, 1989.