According to some experts, the MiG-41 will be considered a 5 ++, or 6 generation fighter.
It is not the Su-57 but the MiG-41 stealth aircraft that Russia is quietly developing that can defeat the F-35 and make America the most worried. The statement was quoted by the Russian RIA news agency as written in Defense News article.
The United States and its allies are currently restless because there are reports that Russia is continuing to implement the MiG-41 aircraft project with many improvements compared to the previous one.
The Mig-41 project, also known as the PAK DP prospective air complex for long-range interception, was commissioned by Mikoyan Design Center in collaboration with Sokol Aircraft Plant. The project was launched in 2013 on the basis of the results of projects implemented in the 1990s of the last century, including MiG-701, Mikoyan MiG-301 and Mikoyan MiG-321.
The MiG-41 interception aircraft is expected to replace the MiG-31 in the near future and together with the Su-57 will create the air power of the Russian Aerospace.
A top secret project
According to some experts, the MiG-41 will be considered a 5 ++, or 6 generation fighter. One of the key challenges in the near future that the MiG-41 will face may be supersonic fighters, traditional threats from cruise missiles and bombers of potential enemies. In addition to the manned version, the unmanned version of the MiG-41 is also being considered.
The MiG-41’s information is kept strictly confidential, but this interceptor is likely to be based on the MiG-31. This is perfectly reasonable as it will save money and take less time to research. However, Russian officials said that the MiG-41 would be a completely a new aircraft, and not a deep upgrade version of the MiG-31.
The Mig-41 will probably use the Izdeliye 30 engine currently developed for the Su-57. MiG-41 will possess all the advantages, combining the use of lessons learned from the design and thirty years of use experience of its predecessor MiG-31, as well as inheriting the essence of previous generation aircraft.
The MiG-41 project has been known for a few years, but it has never had a clear picture of its shape. Everything about the MiG-41 up to this point only exists as a simulated graphic.
According to CEO Tarasenko, Mikoyan will apply new materials to create a new generation interceptor aircraft, integrated with advanced weapons and modern avionics. The new aircraft can be operated in the Arctic, becoming a reliable link in the Russian border protection weapon system.
The US press said that the most special feature of this fighter is that it can operate outside of Earth, in outer space. Of course it is not considered a space station but it can operate in the stratosphere.
It is expected that in the next few years Russia will complete the prototype of this aircraft, and it can reach speeds of 5,000 km/h. The birth of MiG-41 will officially occupy the world’s fastest interceptor aircraft position of MiG-31, an interceptor was created in the 1980s, has a horrific speed of Mach 2.83, equivalent to 3,000 km/h.
A weapon that works in the stratosphere
Because it work in space, the airframe and their stealth technology are especially emphasized. It’s unclear how it will work, but experts say they will work in the same mode as a normal plane in stratosphere.
This information again surprised and extremely worried Americans. Remember, the United States is the country that holds the world record for the field of aircraft operating in space, the military aircraft using US X-15 boosters has reached an altitude of 107 km. So far in the world no aircraft can operate in the stratosphere. Americans only set records but with the help of experimental boosters, it’s hard to call them a combat vehicle.
The MiG-41 will be a super modern heavy interceptor fighter with a combat range of 1,500 km, able to reach most of Russia’s vast territory in the shortest possible time, which can penetrate any air defense system and capable of intercepting supersonic targets. This MiG-41 will be equipped with a new means of destruction, the R-37 long-range air-to-air missile, and hypersonic missiles.
It is likely that MiG-41’s weapons with an estimated range of 700 to 1,300 km will be hidden inside the fuselage. It is reported that new RVV-BD missiles with dual-mode solid fuel engines are being developed for this potential fighter.
The Topwar website posted pictures of the alleged MiG-41, which had an elliptical air intakes in front of the nose, similar to the MiG-21. Under the plane there are 3 to 4 circular stations that can be sensors of laser defense systems. Other graphical images of the MiG-41 show that it has a relatively short body, only equipped with a single engine with two vertical tail wings.
According to some sources, the MiG-41 fighter will not focus too much on the stealth feature because the laser defense system will make up for this problem. Instead, the design of the aircraft will focus on maneuverability, load of weapons to create overwhelming firepower before the enemy.
Analysts say the idea of making interception fighters has become obsolete, as modern air defense missiles are the best way to destroy air targets at long ranges. The global trend in recent decades is the development of multi-role fighters. So, is a high-speed interceptor suitable for Russian geographic conditions and an exception to this trend?
When will the Mig-41 appear?
Some Russian sources claim that the MiG-41 interceptor will be delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces in the mid-2020s. However, many analysts believe that the MiG-41 will only be able to take off in 2035, and even 2040. It is clear that the MiG-41 will be costly to Russia and, if successful, will not be mass produced.
Many argue that the simultaneous implementation of both the MiG-41 and Su-57 programs is considered quite impossible because Russia’s defense budget is very limited.
Spending money on two advanced fighter research projects at the same time is extremely unreasonable, even for a country with a lot of money like the United States. So for now the MiG-41 is still a myth on the drawing board and how soon these planes will take off will be difficult to judge.
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Except that many forget to consider a point : since the Russian military production is fully indigenous, you have to consider the budget in terms of GDP(PPP), not in terms of GDP(nominal) and the GDP(PPP) is 2.53x the nominal one, therefore, the 2020 $61.7bn mil budget is equivalent of a $151.16 spending for the USA, maybe even more as the Russian ₽ (ruble) is highly underestimated in terms of exchange rates, Russia has super-low debt and is one of the few country able to go on in autarky. A Borei-class SSBN is about 3.5-4x cheaper than a French Triomphant-class one and 10-12x cheaper than its US-pendant, the Columbia-class…
Another point is that since the Soviets dilapidated gigantic money in the military industrial complex, most of the needed R&D in many domains has been long done, AFAIK, they’re even the only ones having done live tests of kinetic bombing from space.
Another point : they’re also highly prone to do hoaxes, remember what Putin once declared: one of his greatest fun while in the KGB was to lead western intelligence into believing about the reality of frivolous unexisting weapon programs! Some recently highly advertised ones are obvious hoaxes, BTW, look at the ballistic missiles : the RS-28 Sarmat (NATO: Satan-II) and R-29RMU Sineva (NATO : Skiff) has fully burnt in 2018…
Meanwhile, as well as the TS-24 Yars, the RS-26 Rubezh or the submarine-launched RSM-56 Bulava, ALL are Topol-M derivatives with many common parts.
The Delta-IV subs loaded with Sineva are planned for retirement, being replaced by the Bore class with Bulavas, all the huge Typhoon-class subs armed with the R-39 Rif have been retired but the Dmitriy Donskoy which was modified as a testbed for the Bulava… Now, in terms of strategy, is there any need for a monstrous silo-based 200t+ missile like the RS-28 which will take hours to fill with liquid fuel before launch while Topol-M, Yars or Bulava rely on solid fuel which can be securely left inside the tanks and allow immediate launches and range 11,000-12,000 km for Topol-M/Yars and 8000-10,000km for Bulava. Moreover, launchers are mobile (TEL or submarine) making them unlikely to be destroyed before launch, unlike a silo with an enormous 200t+ missile taking hours to fill with liquid fuel… We’ll likely see a RS-28 test launch… From enough far to distinguish it from another rocket while the real ballistic forces is being rationalized on cheaper and more reliable Topol-M derivatives where the common elements allow a cheaper use as well as ICBM as SLBM meanwhile, a super-heavy ICBM like the Sarmat has no other use than as a propaganda tool to make the populations of countries that are antagonizing Russia afraid of the big super missile that can carry one or two Tsar-bombas, meanwhile Russia has retired anything over 800 kilotons and is replacing all big warheads by 150 kilotons MIRVs…
If Russia was a small sized country like France, they would rationalize by having a single long range ballistic missile to be submarine launched : busting silos implies surface bursts about 1 megaton, such a burst implies gigantic fallouts that will make a good 30,000km² even dirtier than the Chernobyl zone likely for centuries… Having silos or TEL-carried ICBMs when you have large underpopulated areas in Siberia, Montana or N-Dakota, you can’t allow yourself to have targets needing megaton-yielded surface bursts when you’re a small country (in case of air-burst, you can start re-using nuked areas after 2 weeks).
If you still have doubts, look at the Kh-47 Kinzhal : it’s nothing else than an Iskander derivative, this can even be spotted visually just looking at it, and look at the ranges they speak about : it includes the combat radius of MiG-31 or Tu-22M!
Another example of optimization? Now India has funded the integration and the mods to Su-30 to carry the BrahMos cruise missile, which is nothing else than a license-built P-800 Oniks, guess what? VKS has started to have Russian Flankers to carry the P-800 Oniks and how funny, the Kalibr cruise missile is also shared between navy vessels, submarines, ground based launchers and aircraft…
Now, when it comes to MiG-31, unlike MiG-25, it’s not only an interceptor : it also carries the Kh-58 and the Kh-47M2 air-to-surface missiles, in other terms, MiG-31 is capable of fast hit’n’run attacks at pretty long range against high value targets… Guess why many MiG-31 were versed to Russia’s naval aviation… I wouldn’t be surprised if other undisclosed air to surface weapons were available for MiG-31, especially anti-ship missiles…
I’m VERY dubious about a kinda MiG-21 made stealthy, it’d be way easier and cheaper to finish the Yak-43 (stealth version of Yak-41M Lockeed-Martin took a lot of inspiration from to create F-35B) project which was very advanced when the USSR collapsed and with the Tu-160’s NK-321 engine, it would even have more thrust than a MiG-25 and near as much as MiG-31… An improved version may even end equaling the two Soloviev D-30F6 on the MiG-31. A few years ago, it was made public that Putin was considering to restart the Yak-43 program. Yak-43 is longer with much better aerodynamics than F-35B, thanks to using two small 63cm/4t thrust lift engines rather than a huge 1.35m diameter/8t thrust one in F-35B, moreover, you can’t really tell that either Su-33 or MiG-29K are really successful naval aircraft. Russia may simply decide to go VSTOL, especially since the engine would be shared with Tu-160 and the latest upgrade to Tu-22M. Another derivative named Yak-201 was proposed.
This is far from being the only abandoned project…
Remember that MiG’s Project 1.42/1.44 was refurbished and displayed at MAKS 2015, and there are derivative projects like the MFI or the LMFS.
Moreover, even if France is ahead of Russia in terms of active cancellation or plasma stealth, both are way ahead of USA or China in these domains…
Now there’s another interesting point : India consider to use the BrahMos as a recoverable UCAV with submunitions. BrahMos/P-800 Oniks are shrunk versions of the 7t/10m long P-700 Granit and all have MiG-21 styled air-intakes and a 750kg payload. Well, R-77M missiles weight less than 200kg,
Does anyone considers that what may replace MiG-31 in interceptor job might be an UCAV derivative of the P-700/800 family carrying highly manoeuvrable AAMs of the R-77 family, maybe the R-77-PD or K-77ME, both being ramjet propelled improved versions likely to range 200km or more, while combat range with recovery might end on par with MiG-31, thanks to improved engine, fuel efficiency and lighter materials and adding full wings so their lift would improve range, the cost of production may end not a lot higher than P-700, actually, it could perfectly be a remote carrier that might be expandable as well as re-used if not intercepted… Just look at how they modified the Kh-55 into the stealth Kh-101/102… Moreover, Russia is no more into single engine jet fighters for long…
Since Russia is already fielding QWIP as IRST replacement for Su-57, you may expect AAMs with QWIP seekers soon while networked OTH radars locate stealth object with at worst 15km accuracy… More than it is needed to send an AAM with a small QWIP seeker enough close to lock-on any F-22, F-35, B-2 or more likely J-20 because, guess what? Moscow ain’t afraid of a NATO aggression! Actually, Russia and NATO use each other as a boogeyman as the cold war era remains in populations mindsets makes it more convenient, but in fact, both are very worried by PRC’s fast military build up : just think about it : PLAN already has more combat vessels than US-Navy has combat+support vessels.
Now, I’m not into Putin’s little papers, but for me, a P-700 derivative with wings used as a remote carrier would make way more sense than a super-duped MiG-21 with stealthy geometrics as a Mach4+ successor to MiG-31 and would be much cheaper.
Su-57 is obviously on the way to take over the heavy fighter job in the long run. It’s R&D is still at works, but we can expect it will start by replacing oldest Su-27s then much later Su-30 and even later Su-35 while Su-34 is into replacing Su-24 and even Su-25…
Now, in terms of fielding another jet-fighter, the question resides more into the replacement of the MiG-29 family as well as carrier-based aircraft. It’s obvious that VKS is not very excited about MiG-35.
There are several possibilities, one is a MiG 1.44 derivative, after all, the program was cancelled due to lack of funds but the 1.44 was flight tested. The Yak.43 wasn’t built but the project relied a lot on Yak-41M and Yakovlev engineers helped Lockheed-Martin a lot for the X-35 demonstrator… Yak-43 was also planned with a way more powerful engine than F-35: a single NK-321 is about as powerful as two F100-PW-229 or F-110-GE-129 mounted on latest F-15E…
MiG 1.44+derivatives, Yak-43 and Yak-201 would all compare with Super-Hornet in terms of size and weight.
I’m no sure VKS would like a single engine aircraft.
It’s also not clear if the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will be repaired or scrapped but since Russia obtained a full transfer of technology with the French cancelled LHDs affair, the Mistral ships being pretty cheap to build and modular, so making 245.5m or 261m versions would be rather easy while displacement would be rather similar to Arktika-class nuclear icebreakers which’s OK-900A two reactors are even a little more powerful than the two in the French aircraft carrier, and so is it for the RITM-200 that equips the new LK-60Ya class of icebreakers…
Nuke propulsion would also make a lot of room onboard, they may even consider a 150-200m long two stories hangar allowing both aircraft and vehicles and even a 3rd story for vehicles under these, communicating with a ramp to the middle one and another to the well-dock. They can enlarge the deck with sponsons then at the same time, ease deck operations and stuff many VLS launchers…
Russia may absolutely consider half a dozen of such ships for half what USA spent in the USS G.Ford and it wouldn’t be an issue to have 48 or 54 Yak-43M onboard…
Since a lot of R&D has already been done even during the Soviet-era, considering there will be around 500 MiG-29 and more than 330 MiG-31 in need of replacement by 2030-2035, IMHO, a P-700 derivative UCAV/remote carrier looking a bit like your MiG-41 artist view but smaller would make sense for interception purposes while fielding a son-of-MiG 1.44 and maybe a son-of-Yak-43 would really make sense, as well as starting to replace the about 450 Su-27s by Su-57…
In terms of fighters, Russian naval aviation has 22 MiG-29K, 32 MiG-31; 22 Su-24, 18 Su-27; 22+ Su-30; 20 Su-33…
Well, considering about 350 Yak-43 instead would make sense, as well as about 600 MiG 1.44-family for RuAF while the interception role of the 331 MiG-31 (300 in RuAF) would be taken over by P-700 derivative UCAVs : developing an aircraft, no matter the type, is OK business as soon you sell more than 200 except when Lockheed-Martin or BAe are implied and cheat about the R&D, production and maintenance costs which are all overcharged on clients while capabilities are overhyped, they end sub-par, this is how Rafale ends about the same price as a Super-Hornet (and ends cheaper after only 1 year of use) ends being better than both Typhoon and F-35… After a few years, it also ends cheaper than Flankers and Fulcrums thanks to a hourly cost 2.5x cheaper than MiG-29, 3x cheaper than Su-30, half as cheap as F-16 or Super-Hornet; 3.5x cheaper than F-15 or Typhoon and 6-7x cheaper than F22 or F-35… And these can fly so many missions per 24h that a single one does the job of three F-16 or Super-Hornet, 2.5 F-15E, 4 Su-30/35; 6 MiG-35, 8 MiG-29, 12 F-22 or 18 F-35… It will even become faster, stealthier and with heavier payload with the 2022 F4 upgrade as more powerful engines will be fit as well as plasma stealth will be added.
IMHO, another great thing to do today would be fitting either a Gripen-C or Tejas Mk1 with Rafale’s engine in 98kN (or 115kN) version and its combat systems : the engine is so small that you can stuff all the systems as well as as much inner fuel as in a F-16, with 115kN thrust, you even get more than F-16s fit with the F100-PW-220 engine while you have a much lighter aircraft. With a few little structural improvements, this will allow as much if not more payload than F-16A while being as stealth as F-35 even with external payload but the cost of use would be between the quarter and the third of F-16. The flyaway cost of a Rafalized Tejas was estimated to $45-46M by Dassault. For sure, you won’t have the long legs and payload of a Rafale, especially with the more powerful engines allowing 12t payload, but you end with a really cheap to use Tejas as capable as mid-weight fighters when a Rafale is as capable as heavy fighters while only mid weight and is technically able to lift 3 BrahMos at once when Su-30 can only lift one…
When it comes to the future Dassault/Airbus fighter, there might be surprises in store :
1.) It’s supposed to receive a Rafale’s M88 engine derivative but the M88 is less than 70cm in diameter while what is shown on the mock-up is much bigger. Safran is said working on a scramjet+turbofan combo engine for about 15 years.
2.) The planned skin material is a supra-conductor which melts at 3652°C, it’s 2002°C more than what the Space-Shuttle’s ceramic heat-shield could withstand. This material is also 100x tougher than steel at same thickness and is one the best ever found for energy storage, it can also be put in magnetic levitation, actually, its mass production is listed as the #1 industrial priority by the EU (!)
3.) It will be equipped with reaction control system just like spacecraft.
4.) In 2020, French DM told French AF cadets to stop thinking about air combat and start thinking in terms of space combat.
5.) The remote carriers demonstrators have already been flight-tested by Airbus.
6.) In 2019, Dassault CEO declared that space combat won’t look like Star Wars’ dogfights at all
=> There might have been no official announcements, but the French/German/Spanish 6th gen fighter might end being much more than an aircraft. Thanks to active cancellation and plasma, Dassault doesn’t needs internal weapons bay for stealth purposes, but if you have to do atmosphere re-entry, you can’t keep weapons outside…
Some questioned Dassault guys about these clues about 1 year ago… There still has been no answer to this day… Well, maybe will it only be able to go hypersonic by its own means and will need rocket-boosters to go exo-atmospheric
I’m not saying that they’re cooking the 1st space-fighter in history and even if it ends so, this may end being classified even after introduction, just like about Rafale’s stealth having been only unclassified in Dec. 2015 after some people in India talked a little too much in public, thus, it was an open secret as soon as 2004, a bit like Mitterrand’s daughter or Chirac’s Japanese son…