Russia’s new sixth-generation stealth interceptor, the Mikoyan MiG-41 or PAK DP, will take to the skies by 2025, according to reports.
The Moscow-headquartered aerospace giant, Mikoyan (MiG), has been working on the design of the new stealth aircraft since 2013. Some reports claim the PAK DP will possess the ability to reach earth-shattering speeds of Mach 4.
The country has high expectations from this long-range bomber, which will be a successor to the prolific Soviet-era MiG-31 interceptor. According to the reports, the fighter is still in its development phase.
For years, Russia has relied on the extremely powerful, long-range, supersonic MiG-31 Foxhound to protect its vast airspace. The two-seat aircraft, which was derived from the MiG-25 Foxbat, can attain speeds of up to Mach 2.83.
While the existing MiG 31 jets have been upgraded with the latest technologies, the fact that there has been a complete halt on their production since 1994 has remained a concern for the Russians.
The new MiG-41s are a means to overcome that problem despite the fact that the MiG-31s might still be in service until the 2030s.
According to a Russian Aviation news portal, Avia. Pro, the sixth-generation interceptor might take its first flight as early as 2025.
The portal said the first prototype of the new fighter will be completed by 2023 and will be followed up by a series of ground tests.
Once the process is completed smoothly, the fighter will take to the skies in the next two years. Only then, the Russian forces will be able to start accepting the PAK DPs into service, which could be around 2028.
The report on MiG-41 has been confirmed by a Russian analyst, who said that the country was indeed working on a successor to the Foxhound.
“There are some discussions and initial research about the development of a MiG-31 successor – but it is in the very early stages,” said Russian defense analyst Vasily Kashin.
Russia is focussed on developing its latest fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-57 or T-50 air superiority fighter under the PAK-FA fighter jet program.
However, the new MiG-41 is definitely considered a step above the Su-57 fighters and will rather be more similar in concept to the United States Air Force’s upcoming sixth-generation fighter jet, being developed under their Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program.
Russian media reports also suggest the MiG-41 fighter could be developed into an unmanned combat aircraft in the future.
During a Defense Exhibition “Army 2017” three years ago, there were claims that the “MiG-41 will be a completely new aircraft, where completely new technologies for working in the Arctic sphere will be applied”.
The fighter will be equipped with newer stealth technologies and will have the ability to carry a large number of weapons. It will also boost the ability to operate at a very large intercept radius.
According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, the new fighter would be able to intercept hypersonic missiles; it would carry a multifunctional long-range interceptor missile system, which will dispense a number of sub-missiles.
The fighter will also possess an anti-missile laser along with the ability to operate at very high altitudes, and even in near space, media reports reveal.