MOSCOW (AP) — The maker of MiG fighter jets says that its chief designer Rostislav Belyakov has died. He was 94.
The company said in a statement that Belyakov died Friday in Moscow following an unspecified illness. Belyakov became the MiG chief designer in 1969, succeeding the firm's founder, Artyom Mikoyan, and led the development of a family of MiG fighters, including MiG-23, MiG-25, Mig-29 and their versions, which have been the backbone of Soviet and then Russian air force.
Belyakov joined the MiG company as a young engineer in 1941 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a deputy chief designer in 1957. He was showered with state awards and honors, but his name was unknown to the public until the Soviet collapse.