The Sukhoi Su-30 (Russian: Сухой Су-30; NATO reporting name: Flanker-C) is a twin-engine, two-seat super-maneuverable fighter aircraft developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. It is a multi-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
The MiG-31 is famous, primarily, for its ability to accelerate to an incredible speed of 3000 kilometers per hour and operate at altitudes of more than 20 kilometers. Because of that, the aircraft was nicknamed Foxhound.
The MiG-31 is unique in all respects and still have no competitors in the world. They will cover Russia’s air borders in the next ten years, after which will be replaced with even more advanced long-range aircraft MiG-41 which will be able to destroy targets already outside the atmosphere, in outer space.
The issue of the resumption of production of the MiG-31 or the development of a new high-altitude interceptor was replaced by it for a long time and was so overripe that in 2013 the Duma heard hearings on this topic. They were the first in the history of the lower house of parliament devoted to the fate of a specific weapon. Parliamentarians called on the government to resume production of the MiG-31 and to extend the life of already flying cars. The deputies then talked a lot about NATO’s expansion to the East, the development of the US missile defense system and some plans of the West “for a large-scale militarization of outer space.” In this difficult situation, in their opinion, only the MiG-31 will be able to close the Russian air borders to a reliable lock.
MiG-31 is really a very interesting aircraft, although it was developed in the early 70’s. Its characteristic rapid silhouette is easy to recognize by the chopped wingtips, the rigid contours of the glider, the huge nozzles and beveled shells of the air intakes of the D-30F-6 engines. Due to their monstrous total thrust, these engines accelerate the 40-ton machine to speeds close to hypersonic. Of the weapons – six-barrel 23-millimeter gun and six points of suspension of a variety of air-to-air missiles. The maximum combat load is nine tons.
As previously reported, the PAK DP will be called the MiG-41 and is developed on the basis of the MiG-31. At the same time, the aircraft will not become a product of the profound modernization of the MiG-31, but will be a completely independent completely new car. The first deliveries to the Air and Space Forces could begin already in the mid-2020s in the event of orders from the Ministry of Defense. PAK DP will be hypersonic itself (claimed speed is 4500 km / h) and will be able to carry hypersonic missiles. The creators plan to “sharpen” it for work in the Arctic zone and eventually, perhaps, “re-qualify” in drone.
As Ilya Tarasenko, General Director of RAC MiG, said earlier on the Zvezda TV channel, the aircraft will have unique combat capabilities, in particular, it will be invisible to the enemy radars and even be able to work in outer space. Some versions of the MiG-31 can already launch small satellites into near-earth orbit.
The main qualities for a high-altitude interceptor are speed and range of action, and not maneuverability, said the Honored Test Pilot of the USSR, Hero of Russia Anatoly Kvochur. According to him, promising “high-altitude” can be used for peaceful purposes, such as, for example, combating space debris in low orbits.
It should also be noted that, apart from eliminating reconnaissance aircraft and enemy bombers, the important tasks of distant high-altitude interceptors remain the search and destruction of ballistic and cruise missiles in the air defense system. Their effectiveness in this they have already proved. In the summer, the MiG-31 successfully shot down a missile flying at an altitude of 12 kilometers at a speed three times the speed of sound.
The fifth generation Su-57 (T-50) is just getting started. Nine such machines are undergoing various tests and next year should become part of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Russia Beyond The Headlines reporting that Russia is actively working on the next (6th) generation machine, said Deputy General Director of the Radioelectronnye Technology Corporation (RTC) Vladimir Mikheev in an interview with the Zvezda TV Channel during the recent MAKS-2017 aviation show.
According to Mikheev, the first model of the future plane will appear in 2030.
Mikheev is not going into the details of the future fighter and just says that the machine will be made of materials from the stealth technology. It will have engines that are capable of carrying out a cruise supersonic or even hypersonic flight.
But the most important thing, in his words, is that the future plane will have new super-intellectual equipment onboard that will allow the new generation fighter to fly at an altitude that is inaccessible to modern planes.
Deputy General Director of R&D at RTC Avionics Givi Djandjg said that the future generation fighters will not only be capable of carrying out tasks that today’s planes cannot – flying at hypersonic speed, functioning autonomously without the participation of the pilot, etc. – but they will also use electronic warfare means both as weapons and as “power armor” that detects targets with its own locators and aims high-precision bombs at them.
This flying armada will work as a flock – coordinating its actions in a group without human control, exchanging reconnaissance and combat information and interacting with ground and space forces.
In Djandjg’s words, this is called network centering and it is considered one of the most important indicators of the 6th generation fighter.
“From the electronics viewpoint, modern aircrafts have reached a level in which it is impossible to significantly improve their potential. Modifications of the Su-27, Su-30 and Mig-35 planes together with their engines provide only 30 percent superiority over the previous ones in terms of speed, maneuverability and so on. Also, with the creation of the new avionic “brains” the planes’ effectiveness is greatly increased,” remarked Djandjg.
He added that the only machine that is capable of demonstrating this in practice is the Su-57 fighter (T-50). For the first time it uses a radar with the active electronically scanned array (AESA).
The new locator can scan space and in less than a second move its vision 200 degrees to the sides of the fighter. It can also select targets, aim weapons at them, function as a means of radio-electronic counteraction, as well as create an electronic “invisible shield” around the fighter.
In the specialist’s words, today the AESA helps realize the idea of network centering combat activity, when the fighter becomes a command point for the ground forces, the air defense systems and other groups of fighters.
With all this the 6th generation fighter can “burn” the eyes of enemy missiles, note the experts at RTC.
These tasks will be done by the radar with the AESA.
The system’s antenna, according to Djandjg, is capable of transmitting the signal from jamming devices. Knowing that the Su-57’s (T-50’s) antenna covers basically 200 degrees around the fighter, it can be supposed that this ray can strike a plane’s trajectory from the lateral surface or the edge of the wing.
Like in a science-fiction plane the machine will be surrounded by an electronic armor sphere, making it not only invisible for the opponent, but also making it act as a weapon that “turns off” the opponent’s weapons systems.
Besides electronic weapons the 6th generation fighter will also have traditional weapons.
Mikheev says that they will be the super long-range hypersonic missiles that can strike air, ground and water targets.
They will use the “free hunt and collect responsibility” principle. This means that the group of new artificial intellect missiles selects the primary and secondary targets, arranges them and destroys them based on their priority.