Russian fighter ‘will fly’ at Mach 5 burning its stealth cover

PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.88 Bulgarian Levs) — Russia, the US, and China are working on their conceptual designs for a next-generation, or 6th generation, the fighter jet. The USA seems to be at the forefront of this race. China initially prefers not to share information until an air show comes and reveals another mockup. Russia always starts with great hopes and plans, always goes first, and almost always fails.

Russian interceptor MiG-41: 'The Foxhound' of the XXI century
Photo credit: Naked Science

Russia has long touted the Izdelie-41 as its sixth-generation fighter. Developed by the Mikoyan concern, it is expected to receive the abbreviation MiG-41. It is currently more commonly known as the Mikoyan PAK DP. I.e. Prospective air complex for long-range interception.

According to sources, the first test flight of the MiG-41 could happen in 2025. Today, that seems more impossible than the war in Ukraine stopping right now. Russia has been panting since the start of the war. Redirects all of its defense finances to repair, refurbish and manufacture heavy artillery. At the same time, the February 24 invasion of Ukraine unleashed the wrath of the world’s leading economic and technological nations. Economic sanctions against Russia have blocked Moscow’s access to advanced technologies, especially semiconductors and microchips. The Russian industry, especially in the field of microchips, is not as advanced as Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin would like.

However, there are interesting details about what we know about Izdelie-41. One of the most interesting features touted by Moscow is that the future fighter jet will travel at speeds of Mach 4 to Mach 5. That sounds fine and dandy, even breathtaking, but there’s a problem with that speed.

First, it is not certain whether a pilot will withstand the load, that is, positive G and negative G. And second – air friction. When moving at such a speed, the object creates enormous heat during air friction. Simply put – the stealth fighter will remain without stealth cover. I.e. the stealth cover will burn off in the air. One is that it can create a problem with the performance of the aircraft itself, and another, is that without a stealth cover, canopy design would be difficult in that environment.

No more speculation - Russia is working on a next-generation interceptor
Speculative and unconfirmed design of the MiG-41, Photo credit: Twitter

I.e. Russian engineers are tasked with devising a stealth coating of components that can withstand the heat developed at Mach 4 or Mach 5. This may well become possible, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. But to reach such a flight speed also means a lot of thrust in the plane itself. Very often we witness that a high temperature during the operation of a machine leads to overheating and frequent repairs. This, in turn, makes aircraft maintenance more expensive.

The question remains, how will the Izdelie-41 reach this speed? What type of engines will the Russian defense industry have to develop to ensure its hypersonic presence in similar parameters in the air? Perhaps Russian engineers, at least at this stage and with today’s technology known to us, would use a linear jet or turbojet engine. Some of these engines power the Russian Federation’s hypersonic missiles today.

Logically, the Izdelie-41 is advertised as an interceptor of hypersonic missiles. This is the closest to anything described here. Because if the designers develop a working prototype, with a quality engine that reaches speeds of Mach 5, and ensure the cooling of the systems inside the aircraft, the launch of the hypersonic Dagger missile already becomes much more likely. It is for this reason that the probability of this aircraft intercepting a hypersonic missile is relatively good.

Russian fighter 'will fly' at Mach 5 burning its stealth cover MiG-41
Photo credit: ABiator

But, all this raises many questions for Russian engineers, and they don’t even have answers that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The situation today rather tends to suspend this project. I.e. we might see this super interceptor someday, but the likelihood of it ever going into production is diminishing by the day. Because today, Russia must first develop those components, which until a year ago it was buying from the West. And yes – even if the war with Ukraine stops, there will still be no progress on Izdelie-41 in the coming years.

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