After starting the production of its first stealth fighter Sukhoi SU-57 fighter jets, Russia is in the final stage of developing another Stealth aircraft, the Mikoyan MiG-41 or PAK DP is a stealth interceptor aircraft/heavy fighter.
In August 2018, the Head of Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG Ilya Tarasenko announced that the upcoming fighter MiG-41 “is not a mythical project”.
The Mikoyan bureau has been working on the design of a new long-range interceptor, based on their MiG-31, since 2013 as part of a plan to replace the aging fleet of MiG-31 fighter jets whose active service life expires in 2028.
The main features of the MiG-41 are not yet known, but one thing is clear: a plane flying faster than missiles (the MiG-41 is designed to fly at Mach 4.0 and even Mach 4.3) is a convincing deterrent against any aggression.
According to Russian Military Sources, the PAK DP could be in the future to become an unmanned aircraft.
In August 2017, the head of MiG factory has announced during the Defense Exhibition “Army-2017” that the MiG-41 will be a completely new aircraft, where completely new technologies for working in the Arctic sphere will be applied, this aircraft will guard the entire border of our homeland, then it will be transferred to the unmanned project.
The MiG-41 will be a development of the MiG-31, and it will use new types of weapons, will be created with new stealth technologies, can carry a large volume of weapons, and will operate at a very large intercept radius.
According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, the MiG-41 will become an interceptor of hypersonic missiles by carrying a multifunctional long-range interceptor missile system (MPKR DP) that will dispense several sub-missiles in order to increase the chance of intercepting hypersonic weapons.
In August 2018, Ilya Tarasenko, Head of Russian Aircraft Corporation said, the new MiG-41 will be equipped with an anti-missile laser, and would be able to operate at very high altitudes and even in near space.
According to military experts, the MiG-41 could become the fastest fighter aircraft in the world. Russia expects to make the first flight after 2025.
If actually manufactured, the MiG-41 should become an unparalleled interceptor. Possibly, its dimensions should be similar to those of the MiG-31, a twin-engine jet about 22 meters long and with a maximum takeoff weight of over 40 tons. These numbers would surpass the F-22 Raptor, currently the largest stealth fighter in operation. Rumors that the same MiG-31 engine could be used by the PAK DP reinforce the idea that the jet will be large, as it is thought to be a long-range interceptor.
In recent interviews, the Russian military has considered that the fighter may receive some advances such as laser weapons and the ability to operate on the space frontier, but not to mention exactly what the new MiG’s predicted altitude would be.
With 17 million km² and distant borders up to 7,000 km from Moscow, Russia has always seen these heavy interceptors as useful weaponry. From the days of the giant Tu-128 to the MiG-25, Russians have sought to have a significant amount of fighters capable of covering long distances. If the Putin government gives the green light to the project, perhaps this tradition will continue in the future.