Russia anticipates MiG-41 with electromagnetic cannon by 2025

Russia is pushing the boundaries of aviation engineering, reportedly developing a revolutionary 6th-generation fighter. Known as the MiG-41, this aircraft aims to make waves not just in our atmosphere, but also leaps towards low space orbits. This cutting-edge development draws inspiration from the time-honored MiG-31M and promises to introduce features unlike anything the aviation world has yet to see. 

Russia anticipates MiG-41 with electromagnetic cannon by 2025
Photo credit: Dzen

Even ardent aviation enthusiasts may be unaware of the existence of a modernized iteration of the MiG-31: the MiG-31M. Alleged by Russia to have been developed in the 90s, this overlooked aircraft might soon become legendary. Its lack of fame and the reasons behind the halted mass production are still subjects of bemused speculation amongst Russian analysts. 

Despite this, the MiG-31M deserves recognition. This is because the work put into it is suspected to lay the foundation for the eagerly awaited, next-gen supersonic interceptor, the MiG-41. The MiG-31M, emerging from a rigorous modernization process, sports enhancements on both exteriors and internals. Notable upgrades, apart from its visual appeal, include an expanded 300-litre fuel tank. An advanced Zaslon-M radar, and the capacity to carry 6 air-to-air missiles included too. Regrettably, the MiG-31M never made it to large-scale production, a casualty of the economic chaos that defined the 1990s.

F-35s 'force' MiG-31s to intercept 'threats' in the stratosphere
Photo credit: Russian MoD

What do they say in Russia?

Estimations from Russian experts, frequently cited in recent media reports, suggest that the VKS’s [Russian Aerospace Forces] sixth-generation MiG-41 combat aircraft will take to the skies by 2025. The principal challenge to realizing this vision appears to be the ongoing development of the pulse-detonation engine that will power the aircraft. 

The Russian tech magazine, Sfera [Sphere], notes, “While progress is being made, we’re venturing into uncharted territory here. Questions may arise over the resources required for managing the engine’s wear and tear, given the exceptionally dynamic load they will handle.” 

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

According to local speculation, the aircraft might be designed to operate using an alternative engine. Potential options include a second-stage engine borrowed from the Su-57 or the P-579-300 engine from the Soyuz AMNTK. Interestingly, the P-579-300 already possesses a developed gas generator. The P-79-300, previously utilized in the Yak-141, serves as the foundational model for this development.

Coming soon?

There’s a lot of speculation circulating about the evolution of the elusive MiG-41, with scant official confirmations to authenticate any details. The latest conjecture, however, anticipates the fighter to be deployed for duty by 2028, veering away from the previously speculated timeline of 2024-2025. 

It’s worth noting that the MiG-41 is a highly classified defense project. While there exists a remote chance it may have been developed off the grid, its existence remains largely uncertain. 

A mention of the MiG-41’s speed capabilities at Mach 4.3 harks back to an under-publicized report from 2022. This involved AMNTC Soyuz divulging some enlightening information on its website about the already-developed R-579 300 engine, a potential match for the Su-57, among others.

P-579-300

Russia anticipates MiG-41 with electromagnetic cannon by 2025
Photo credit: Dzen

When we first started reporting on this news, our lens of scrutiny captured quotes from Soyuz’s designers. We were among the few discussing this news. Interestingly, AMNTK Soyuz began to exhibit similar traits—a striking example being the potential achievement of Mach 4.3 speed. Is it just a happy coincidence? Let’s delve deeper. 

Currently, MiG is working on a unique project—developing a “new vertical take-off deck-based fighter”. There are whispers that the R-579-300 is constructed to perform vertical take-offs without a rotating nozzle. This remarkable feature is made possible by channeling air from the engine’s second circuit through specialized pipes downward to generate lift. In addition, it possesses a power take-off shaft that can be attached to a fan. Intriguing, isn’t it?

EMP gun and missiles

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

According to Military Watch, Russia is developing an electromagnetic pulse [EMP] gun, a potential game-changer in the realm of aerial warfare. This innovative ‘energy gun’ could expand the range of achievable targets. 

This development poses a serious threat, potentially edging out the already potent Su-57 and the impending MiG-41. Sources inside Russia suggest the possible use of a less powerful version of the EMP gun as an effective deterrent against UAVs and unmanned aerial vehicles. It’s also speculated that the yet-to-be-launched MiG-41 might be equipped with R-37 missiles. 

The Russian publication, Izvestia, reports that the MiG-41 might feature a multi-purpose interceptor missile system, able to handle hypersonic munitions with multiple warheads. If the MiG-41 successfully completes its maiden flight by 2025, it’s expected to be fully operational by 2030. This sense of urgency seems to arise from the fact that production has stopped for the engines for the existing MiG-31, and the remaining resources are quickly depleting.

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