MOSCOW, (BM) – By building the MiG-25 fighter-interceptor, the Soviet Union effectively rendered useless one of the most expensive combat aircraft in history, the Blackbird interceptor. Then for the USSR Air Force they prepared the MiG-31 based on the “twenty-fifth” – a more modern machine.
Recently it became known that they were thinking about extending the flight life of this aircraft, the glider of which was developed in the 70s of the last century, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. This is a very strict and highly respected aircraft by pilots, but the question of a new interceptor is being raised more and more often.
In particular, the current head of MiG and Sukhoi, Ilya Tarasenko, spoke of the fact that this is already being developed back in 2018. But so far there is not even an approved sketch of the future interceptor, although the drawing of the PAK DA bomber is actively discussed in the Russian and foreign press.
As suggested by the Chinese edition of Sohu, which traditionally writes about Russian weapons, the new MiG-41 fighter will be able to climb to an altitude of 30 km and accelerate to a speed of Mach 5. Chinese journalists are confident that while the United States and Western countries have focused on stealth technology, Russia has prioritized speed.
Like the MiG-25 or MiG-31, the promising MiG-41 will be able to evade pursuit if enemy fighters sit on its tail. Moreover, “forty-first”, due to its speed, according to Sohu, will even get away from missiles fired by the enemy. It is worth noting that for this, the aircraft must still be equipped with a good radar to detect a missile launch.
Perhaps the MiG-41 will be equipped with laser weapons, which will just burn the missile homing heads. In addition, it will be endowed with the ability to intercept missiles at high altitude or even in near space. Thus, the interceptor will become part of the missile defense.
Sohu believes that the MiG-41 will take into account the “weak points” of the Su-57, although the journalists did not specify which ones. The interceptor is likely to have both a manned and an unmanned version.
It should be noted that the speed of Mach 5 is a very serious test for the pilot, therefore, most likely, the unmanned version will accelerate this way. Also, the authors of Sohu do not mention drones, which in the near future will become permanent companions of fighters. Most likely, the MiG-41 will also need drones.
What is known so far about the invisible fighter MiG-41
What exactly will distinguish the conventional MiG-41 from the 31st and its many modernizations.
The first is speed. If you believe the words of Anatoly Kvochur about the speed of four Machs, it must be said that the achievement of such indicators within the framework of the old platform is impossible. Consequently, the aircraft will most likely have to be created from scratch – with emphasis on higher flight performance. Secondly (this is perhaps even more important), there is reason to believe that they want to see PAK DP as an inconspicuous machine, like the Su-57 or F-22, as we already said.
“A promising aircraft (PAK DP) will use new types of aviation weapons, it will be created using new stealth technologies, it will be able to transport the necessary number of weapons, and it will operate on a very large interception radius,” said the Director General of MiG Aircraft Corporation in 2019 Ilya Tarasenko.
The head of the company added that these requirements are laid down in the appearance of the aircraft, and scientific and technical work on it should be completed by the end of 2020. Recall that in 2018 Tarasenko announced the reality of development. “This is not a mythical project, the project for MiG is long-standing, now under the auspices of the UAC we are carrying out these works intensively and will soon introduce them to the public,” he noted.
In 2017, the supervisor of the FSUE GosNIIAS Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yevgeny Fedosov said that the military also considers the PAK DA strategic bomber (a promising long-range aviation complex) as a long-range interceptor.
However, one version about the transformation of the MiG-31 in the PAK DP still cannot be ruled out. Recall the American project Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle, aimed at the partial transformation of the old aircraft into stealth.
The F-15SE fighter was equipped, for example, with a V-shaped plumage, and part of the armament (also for the sake of maintaining radar stealth) was removed to the internal compartments.
The “inconspicuous aircraft for the poor,” as they called it, did not meet with much interest in the market, since there are more advanced aircraft and the device can no longer fully satisfy modern requirements.
As already noted, everything speaks in favor of the development by MiG engineers of a new machine, rather than the upgraded MiG-31. Another question is how interesting it is to the Ministry of Defense.
In October 2018, it became known that the Russian military department received materials on a project for a promising long-range interception aircraft complex, which is being created to replace the Mig-31. This was announced by the general designer, vice president of innovation of the United Aircraft Corporation Sergey Korotkov.
But while there are no official statements that would seriously allow talking about the interest in the car from the Russian Defense Ministry, no.
Could the program exist outside the desire of the videoconferencing to get a new interceptor? A difficult question, and the most correct answer to it is probably not.
The market for combat aircraft is not as wide as the market for civil aviation. This can be seen even in the example of relatively popular multi-purpose machines. There is nothing to talk about highly specialized interceptors, as well as front-line bombers like the Su-34.
Most likely, international customers for the new aircraft will not be able to find, even if the car is successful. A heavy interceptor is of interest only to countries with very long borders and, therefore, the need to guard these very borders. There are not many such states, and some, like China, have their own aircraft industry.
MiG-41: is it needed?
The implementation of the PAK DP program will cost without exaggeration of fantastic means, which is clearly seen in the example of fifth-generation fighters. The F-22 development program cost US taxpayers more than $ 60 billion, and the F-35 project cost over $ 50 billion. It can be assumed that sixth generation fighters will require even greater investment.
How much will a promising sixth generation interceptor cost Moscow? No one can answer this question now, but there is no doubt that the amount will be astronomical, especially by the standards of Russia.
Together with technical risks, this raises uncomfortable questions and casts doubt on the feasibility of something like that. They don’t really believe in PAK DP in the West. So, aviation specialist Justin Bronk from the Royal Institute for Defense Research earlier said that he saw no prospects for the MiG-41, as “Russia does not always bring the matter to serial deliveries of new military equipment.”
However, this thesis is only partially true. New technology always requires a long period of bringing to a combat ready state, that is, no one (at least now) has refused either the Su-57 or the T-14 tank. Moreover, this year there was information about the conclusion of a contract for the supply of seventy-six Su-57s to the troops.
More important are issues of a conceptual nature that Business Insider reporters previously drew attention to. “The best way to intercept are ground-to-air missiles.” And the Russians are talking about the MiG-41 to promote another aircraft – the MiG-29SM, ”they note.
Indeed, the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, provided that a new 40H6E missile is used, could theoretically hit targets at a range of almost 400 kilometers. The combat radius of the MiG-31 is 700 kilometers, and the range of its R-37 missiles, as we have already said, can reach 300 kilometers. Thus, the conclusions of Business Insider experts are not entirely correct: neither the S-400 nor the S-500 will be able to become a full-fledged replacement for the interceptor.
However, the functions of the MiG-31 / MiG-31BM can be partially taken over by Su-57 fighters, which, as previously stated, must learn how to use the RVV-DB missiles. If we take into account the planned installation of the engine of the second stage, the Type 30, on the Su-57, the cruising speed of the aircraft in theory will not be inferior to that of the F-22 Raptor. That is, it can be higher than 1,500 kilometers per hour.
So, PAK DP may simply not be needed due to the availability of other modern machines. However, not everything is simple here. The fact is that a number of experts – both in Russia and in the West – “woo” the MiG-41 into sixth generation fighters.
Recall that now active work in this area is carried out in Europe and the USA: it is enough to recall the American F / A-XX and the European New Generation Fighter. The logic is clear: F-35 and F-22 are not eternal, sooner or later they will have to be replaced.
So far, the requirements for the sixth generation are not fully formed. But experts believe that we can talk about an aircraft built using stealth technology and capable of developing hypersonic speed.
This is where the MiG developments on PAK DP may come in handy. Simply put, the MiG-41 in fact may not be a replacement for the MiG-31, but the successor to the Su-57. That is, not a interceptor, but a multi-functional fighter that combines high speed, good maneuverability and the ability to hit ground targets. In a word, wait and see.
Follow us everywhere and at any time. BulgarianMilitary.com has responsive design and you can open the page from any computer, mobile devices or web browsers. For more up-to-date news from us, follow our YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages. Do not miss the chance to subscribe to our newsletter. Subscribe and read our stories in News360App in AppStore or GooglePlay or in FeedlyApp in AppStore or GooglePlay
Subscribe to Google News