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Russia are claiming their new MiG-41 will be able to reach space and even potentially operate without a pilot, according to the CEO of the MiG corporation working on the project.

The new fighter will, the company say, be a spiritual successor of MiG-31, MiG Corporation CEO Ilya Tarasenko stated, shedding some light on the interceptor under development.

“The development is at the stage of finalizing the image of the plane. It will be a gradual transition from MiG-31 to PAK DA” Tarasenko said in an interview on Russian TV.

The jet, he said, will not be just a modernisation of MiG-31, it will be an entirely new machine, having “the ability to operate in space, new weapons, new speeds, new operational range” Tarasenko told Zvezda TV channel on Tuesday.

“It will be an entirely new plane, where entirely new technologies to operate in the Arctic zone will be utilised. This plane will safeguard the whole border of our homeland. Later, the project will become unmanned.”

Not much information is available apart from the statement that such an aircraft is planned for development, no official data is available as to the planes capabilities.

It is speculated that it will not enter service until at least mid-2020s. As an interceptor, its primary mission is rumoured to offset future reconnaissance aircraft currently being developed by the United States of America and China.

To achieve the high speeds rumoured for the aircraft, the aircraft would need to be equipped with ramjet engines.

57 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds incredibly interesting, but ‘in space’? so above the Karman line at 100km up? Well, let’s see. The technical challenges are going to be huge.

    • Another problem is that they’d also have to devise a compact, lightweight and powerful way to change course using thrusters considering the planes ailerons would no longer have any effect. Seems far-fetched and unlikely to me

      • And engines that are not air breathing. Sounds like typical Russian bull. By 2025 Russia should be bankrupt.

    • Ok…so why are you afraid and shouting ? Just enjoy the day as your plastic jet like F-22 is enough to shut up this Russia. Have a FRUSTRATING day there.

  2. At Mach 4, it might be able to coast ballistically to 100 km, but it won’t be able to maneuver. It will be about as combat-worthy as the X-15.

  3. Truthfully – and even if the technical challenges could be overcome – I doubt the Russians will be able to afford such a plane.

    Maybe Geordi Laforge can lend a hand!

      • Hi Steven. This is not a fair comparison; bailing out the banks avoided collapsing the economy and was therefore an absolute necessity. A Mach 4 interceptor is no such thing. This is just like their 90,000 ton aircraft carrier design that will never sea water. It’s for national propaganda purposes only to feed the masses and show they are still relevant.

        To be clear, I am not saying they don’t take their military seriously and they have initiated a real rearmament and modernization plan. Truth be told Steven, I wish our politicians would take our military as serious as they do theirs.

        To my point, I just read in the Telegraph that the UK is not ruling out military action against North Korea should it come to that. Politics aside, what exactly would we take military action with??? At least the Russians have options more than we.

        • Bailing out the banks was about £450 Bn? about a quarter of our national debt. How much to develop a Fighter?

  4. Russian military equipment and cutting edge technology are rarely go together.

    Remember when the Soviet pilot detected in a mig25 to japan in 1970s, examination revealed not so much a super fighter rather a mediocre one made of steel full of vacuum tube electronics.

    Just more Russian propoganda until proved otherwise.

    • You mean the same Mig 25 that still holds the altitude record for air breathing aircraft?
      Also there is nothing wrong with steel as a structural material, especially when you consider specialised grades.
      While I agree that their description is a pile of propaganda, it sounds like they are trying to expand the role of the interceptor to include anti- satellite duties and possibly interception of ICBM’s

    • yeah right and you may remember only the vacuum tube electronics will be able to perform if there is a nuclear detonation

  5. Yep, a total fantasy fighter, way too much vodka being consumed in the Kremlin….

    Even if (very big if) they had the technology, Russia is flat broke and it would be way beyond what they can afford.

  6. Everyone forgets here, that in 1989 with the Soviet Union crumbling, they produced the Mig 29 and Su 27 (and for space the Buran Space Shuttle) matching and surpassing Western craft, and only the collapse of the Soviet Union stopped them taking a massive lead. Unlike the Chinese with their knock offs of Russian, Western, & Israeli fighters, the Russians are building their own solutions from scratch. Yes they have financial issues, but so do we.

    Before we laugh at the Russians, how are our UK national advanced fighter projects going? How is our navy faring? Have we a Tank to match the Armata? Can we build our own ICBMs, SLBMs, Long Range Cruise Missiles or Anti-Ship missiles?

    Yep, the Russkies have set themselves a challenge. At least they are still in the business of doing that. Unlike us, we sit and laugh, while our own capability is what? Under 200 Fighters? 19 Ship Escorts (with no missiles), 200 odd out-of-date Challenger 2 Tanks.

    • Of course the UK is (conventionally) a military dwarf compared to Russia.

      However it is important to remember, it is easy for a government to spend lots of money on military development when they don’t have a hostile media and voters to placate.
      The Czar in Moscow has neither to worry about.

      • A lot of people forget that Russias economy is nearly a third the size of our yet rhey spend 5% on defense. Of we got serious and spent a similar amount like the United States, our militay would be impressive and eclipse russias.

        But it’s never going to happen with the government we have now and what’s on offer

        • “Of we got serious and spent a similar amount like the United States, our militay would be impressive and eclipse russias.”

          LOL Keep dreaming.

    • Douglas, you have to remember the SU27 , Mig 29 and the Buran (unproven technology there, never made a manned flight) were developed under the command economy of the Soviet Union, most of the GDP was spent on them while the average Soviet Citizen had bugger all!

      All subsequent developments of the Mig29 and Su27 have been incremental improvements.

      Designing from scratch is a totally different ball game

      The T50 for instance is believed to have a similar RCS to the Typhoon, so low, but not Stealthy and suffers serious developmental and funding shortages, in short they are seriously struggling with a design that’s certainly not light years ahead of anything the West or China can produce.

      With this in mind, plus the other fanciful and totally unaffordable military projects they have on the drawing board, this aircraft is purely a flight of the imagination and that’s as far as it will ever go.

      Also I certainly wouldn’t put China below Russia in Aviation technology, they are developing some very capable and impressive designs and crucially they can afford too.

  7. The Russians have built lots of impressive kit from T34s to Mig 29s with the first missiles slaved to helmet mounted sights to S400 theatre-defence missiles to competitive hunter-killer subs. The AK47 should probably be in there, too. I’m not going to rubbish them quite yet. I do wonder how they will afford thousands of Armata tanks, a super-carrier and fleets off new frigates and SSNs and still be able to pay for this radical jet.

    • They won’t. It’s a pipe dream who’s only purpose is to fool Russians into thinking the are still a superpower.

    • The only thing impressive about the T34 was it’s mechanically reliability and low production costs.

      Once the Germans introduced the 75mm on various platforms the T34 was no more than target practice for them.

      During the period July 1943 to late 44 the Soviets were losing more T34 than they could build, thankfully for them lend lease from the UK and USA kept their numbers up whilst German panzers forces were in terminal decline.

      If a T34 was hit by 75mm gun or greater, the T34 crew only had a chance of 20% survival whilst a Panther crew had a 70% chance.

      AK-47 was great in the hands of poorly trained guerillas, but not much use in a fire fight against well trained soldiers equipped with western small arms. I have fired a AK-47 beyond 200 metres impossible to a hit a small target with aimed shots with any degree of probability.

      • I would say in the case of the AK47, its a piece of design genius, while its accuracy might be slightly compromised, this is fairly academic, the excellent Bolt Carrier with fixed piston design, coupled with a simple rotating bolt a large ejection port plus the bolt group cycling a full 50% further back than it needs to, reduces the chance of a stoppage to very low levels, giving the type legendary reliability.

        Its a military firearm that is quite capable of hitting a man size target out to 300 yds plus, that quite frankly is good enough for government work.

        • Based on my experience and the evaluation by the UK school of infantry it is not accurate beyond 200 metres, plus add in the fact the body armour of the 1970s era defeats the short AK47 round I would rather be using a western small arm

          • Like I said Mike, accuracy is subjective, I am by no means the best shot in the world, but I can group “adequately” at 300yds with one.

            Agreed regarding body armour and the limitations of 7.62×39 at range, but the Soviet answer to that limitation was 5.54mm of the AK74.

          • Well good for you, I know I would rather have FN FAL (SLR), G3 or M16 in a firefight. The G3 being the best small arm I ever handled.

            A 150mm grouping at 100 metres for a AK47 is probably fair, whilst with a G3 I would expect less than 100mm.

            The Soviets to make up for the lack of accuracy of the AK-47 an infantry section always ensured they had a SVD equipped soldier.

    • Russia has paid all external debt to the West that had been accumulated by USSR. Russia has more than enough gold holdings to back the Ruble in conjunction with China and her RMB, during a currency crisis. I understand, this is a military site and economics is not a strong suite, unless of course, you have studied “The Art of War” by Tsun Tzu.

  8. Space vehicle have design requirements (be it structural, propulsion, flight controls, mission systems, etc.) that are quite different (and may be incompatible) from those required for air vehicles, let alone a fast military jet aircraft in an interceptor/fighter role. Designing a vehicle that will adequately cover all those requirements (presuming that any incompatibility could be mitigated by appropriate trade offs) is simply science fiction, period.

  9. It is important to note that thé leading western technology in usa continue to rely on russians avionics science. Painfully so if you ask thé ailing Arizona senator, John Macain. So much is not if thé advanced MIG could opérate in space or not.But what they are capable off in possible science. Kindly remember that politically, diplomatically and militarily thé Américan led Western States are still leaking their wounds over Syria. Their mission to militarily destroy thé Syrian State was effectively thwarted by thé Russians.Until they moved into Syria Many western pundits were largely scornfully dismisssive of them ,untill up to the fall of Aleppo.

  10. if uk could not print the pound then economy would die in few months… for one pound in russia you can by probably a women for a night. what can you buy in uk? tesco ewery day walue can of beer….? for the price of one f16 they make a few new migs

  11. The thing is, the majority of the Russian people will swallow this story completely. I used to think that NATO and the Warsaw Pact played the game by the same rules and understanding. It was only after working there that I realised the Russian people operate to different norms and even logic. I got into a discussion with our interpreter ( ex Spetsnaz that is why he had been taught English.) He was adament that the UK and US only joined the war against Hitler only when the Red Army was at the gates of Berlin, in order to steal Germany’s treasures. I pointed out that while Britain stood alone in the Battle of Britain, Germany and the Soviet Union were effectively allies and that the Luffwaffer was flying on Russian oil. He utterly refuted this. I showed him the London Blitz on the internet. His response. It was lies. Russia had fought alone. The moral, the Russia people after centuries of oppression have learned to believe what they are told and this is still the case in modern Russia. Never assume Russian will come to the same conclusions.

  12. Well if they’re up to the “finalizing the image” stage of development then all bets are off! What I think this means is that a bunch of guys sit around a PC and play with CGI software and see what looks futuristic enough to fool the Russian public. Perhaps the Indians will be bedazzled and allow themselves to be fleased once again by Russians asking for development and “technology transfer” money.

    I don’t think this will fool anyone in the West.

  13. Sure they will. Keep dreaming off he old days of the Soviet union, when the money runs out reality will come crashing down.

  14. Russia does represent a potential threat and challenge to NATO, especially the weak European powers. I include the UK unfortunately in that category now sadly.
    The threat however is not in fighters but proliferation of cheap cruise and anti ship missiles. They are developing scores of conventional platforms like quiet improved kilo class subs to launch these missiles.
    our defenses need some investment to defend against this threat of a saturation attack capability some of which would include hypersonic anti ship missiles.
    What the UK needs is to beat Russia and China with adequate numbers of high end weapons and enough personnel to man them.
    We can and should continue to out class them and this will offset partially their numerical advantage.
    13 type 26s needed though
    at least 8 type 31s
    10 astute class
    +100 active F35Bs
    develop a challenger mk 3 using rail gun technology to smash the Aramata off any potential future battlefield.
    all of which is not going to be cheap but is utterly needed to keep the UK safe and a capable military force.
    also need to keep hms Ocean, replace Diligence, order the Norwegian anti ship missile. Oh dear big list of stuff to sort out Fallon.

    • Mr Bell I agree. The 26’s and 31’s should also be properly armed to be able to defended themselves from saturation attacks, both missile and surface. The increase in Astutes is essential, given the increase in threat from ram jet type missiles ( BrahMos).
      I would reduce the 138 order for F35’s by 24 to allow an order for 48 additional Typhoons. The F35 is only stealthy when it is not carrying external weapons. It can only carry 4 internal weapons and as soon as pylons are attached to carry an external payload the low vis radar cross section is lost. Would it not be better to reduce the F35 order by say 24 and instead purchase 48 extended range uprated Typhoons to act a weapon trucks for F35 led strike packages. The minor upgrades proposed for a Typhoon 2020, such as conformal tanks and the leading edge wing extensions, could provide an aircraft that maximises the potential of the airframe, commits politicians to supporting the UK manufacturing base, recognises the limitations of the F35 that are being ignored and increases the capability of the RAF, all for a very small cost.

  15. The upgrades on typhoon are interesting ideas but I am no aerospace engineer and do not know if they would represent a significant enhancement to be able to defeat future Russian fast jets such as Sukhoi su35, Pak 50s and Mig 31-35 variants in various stages of design and introduction into service.
    I trust the RAF personnel who have flown the F35B when they say it is a game changer and think it might well prove to be.
    The Eurofighter is becoming a great multirole aircraft and I would still support more of the GR4 variant being ordered just as long as not at the expense of F35B being available with 96+ active aircraft to arm both WE class carriers and have a small reserve for other missions.

    • Mr Bell. The advance Typhoon proposed is named Typhoon 2020. The main modifications are conformal fuel tanks and leading edge root extensions ( these have been tested and reportedly provided a 30% improvement in manoeuvrability). As well as upgraded sensors. There are reports that BAE are offering a unit cost price of £87m. The unit cost of F35’s is not being divulged but the frightening figure of £150m may not be far off. Placing an order for 48 enhanced Typhoons would be a great benefit to the UK’s manufacturing base. Rather than knocking up the back ends of F35. This may just preserve sufficient UK capabilty until the next generation comes along, or re-armament becomes required. It would provide greater opeartional flexibility and platforms for delivery of modern missile systems. It is echo the lesson that 1000 T34’s were better than 100 Tigers.

  16. Mike re AK’s, all I am saying is its a great design ( one of the few case’s that design by committee worked well) and good enough for its intended job.

    I would agree wholeheartedly regards the SLR, I would take that over an AK any day of the week.

    Never fired a G3, so I can’t really comment, though I often wondered how the roller delayed blow back handles.

    • Fair enough, AK family is a great design and has stood the test of time. The AK-47 has the flaw, in my opnion, lack of accuracy over 200m. This to some extent was corrected in latter version by lengthening the barrel and the 5.45mm round.

      Regards the G3, I was seconded to Saudi army for two years as an instructor at their school of artillery. At the time they used the G3 and MG3, great weapon to use real quality giving the user much confidence. What is it about German engineering that makes it feel superior?

      Anyway I see Saudi special forces and airborne units now use the AK103.

  17. The only problem is developing a reliable SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine). The other problem is how big this hybrid air/spacecraft would have to be just to carry its fuel and oxidizer…

  18. It’s quite something that HK developed a whole family of firearms from 9mm through 5.56 to 7.62, all using the same WW2 developed roller delay system.

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