MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vano Mikoyan, one of the developers of the MiG fighter jets for the Soviet and then Russian air force, has died at the age of 89, aircraft maker MiG said on Friday.
Mikoyan is best-known for engineering the MiG-29 jet fighter, a warplane that entered service in the 1980s as the Soviet counterpart to the U.S. F-15 and F-16 fighters.
Known as Fulcrum in the West, the MiG-29 is still used by the Russian air force and has been exported to several other countries.
Russian media said Mikoyan, who was born in 1927, died in Moscow. His father was Anastas Mikoyan, a comrade of the early Bolshevik leaders who later served as a Soviet statesman and key ally of Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Mikoyan started his carrier in 1953 at the state-run MiG company, which was co-founded by his uncle Artyom as the Mikoyan and Gurevich (MiG) Design Bureau. He went on to become its chief jet designer.
The Soviet Union and Russia have produced more than 1,600 planes of the MiG-29 family, according to MiG Corporation.
The MiG-29 last made news when one crashed into the Mediterranean Sea this month near Syria, where Russia launched a military operation in support of Bashar al-Assad more than a year ago.
Mikoyan was given two Soviet state awards for developing the iconic jet fighters.
Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Alexander Winning and Tom Heneghan