Russia has commenced Research and Development work on a project to develop a long-range fighter-interceptor, according to national news agency reports. The project has being called as PAK DP, an acronym of the Prospective Aviation Complex for Long-Range Interception. It has been recently designated as the MiG-41 being “at the stage of development work”, as mentioned at the Rostec State corporation’s website. It is assumed that the MiG-41 will replace the MiG-31 long-range fighter-interceptor which has been in service since 1981.
The 114 existing MiG-31s are to be upgraded according to the contract between the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) which according to UAC President Yury Slyusar, work must be concluded by 2023. The new version is titled as MiG-31BM with several characteristics being disclosed, such as a speed of 3000 km/h, a practical ceiling of 21,000m and a target detection range of over 300km. The BM version will have functions beyond that of an interceptor, such as being capable of command post functions and deploying the KINZHAL (Dagger) hypersonic missile.
Experts believe that the MiG-31’s full-titanium airframe, which was built around 30 years ago, to be practically inexhaustible. Given the updated equipment and weapons, the MiG-31BM will be able to serve until a more modern replacement such as MiG-41 appears in 2030.