Replacement for MiG-31 Interceptor Enters Final Dev Phase, Could Fly at Edge of Space

It’s not uncommon for modern military jets to have careers spanning three or even four decades. The Mach 3-capable MiG-31 we showed you some time ago is a classic case in point. But even these jets, as fast and capable as they are, need to be put out to pasture sooner or later. When that day comes, there’s something extraordinary indeed waiting to replace it.
MiG 41 13 photos
Photo: fighter jets world
The Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound has been the primary long-range jet interceptor for the Soviet and then the Russian Air Force for 40 years and counting.

Attempts have been made in the past to improve the jet further, like the Izdeliye 701 (Project 701) in the early 90s, which aimed to use the existing Foxhound to add upgraded engines, weapons, and avionics. This project was deemed insufficient in meeting the demands of the Russian Air Force.

Almost 20 years after the first attempt to replace the Foxhound, Mikoyan is now developing an all-new platform that it hopes will fly higher, faster, and deliver more powerful weapons to any threat that dares challenge Russian airspace. Dubbed the PAK DP while under development, this aircraft is expected to outperform the incumbent MiG-31 in every conceivable metric.

Since the Foxhound flew at Mach three at some of the highest altitudes possible for an air-breathing jet-interceptor to achieve, If the PAK DP is to improve on those metrics, the new jet will likely travel at least four times the speed of sound. It could also dance on the ragged edge between the stratosphere and space.

Here, the MiG could conduct enemy aircraft and ballistic missile interception. The possibility exists that the platform will use the same engines found in the cutting-edge Sukhoi SU-57 stealth fighter.

Early this year, Rostec Corporation, the majority owner of PAK-DP’s designer Mikoyan announced the project had entered the final developmental phase, declaring that the development of the aircraft some in the west have dubbed the MiG-41 has already begun. Even before Mikoyan made any formal announcement.

Expect first flights to begin sometime around 2025 and full-service introduction around 2028. As of October 2021, very little information exists on the specifics of the project. As deadlines for the first flight get closer, expect that to change rapidly.
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