Here is an eight minute video. If you have time do watch. This is the MIG41, Russia's newest game changer, along with the SU-57, SU75 and the Okhotnik UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle).

The MIG41 prototype will likely fly this year. The plane is almost ready. There is one main reason why this plane is a game changer. Its because of "can and cannot". The plane will likely fly above Mach 4, maybe close to Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). It can. Nothing exists in the west - neither plane nor missile - that can reach this speed. They cannot. And it looks like they will not for some time.


Only the Chinese will likely catch up soon. Above a speed of  Mach 4 the existing surface to air missiles or SAMs cannot shoot down the MIG41. Or next to impossible. 

Existing SAMs in western arsenals have a limited "kill stage". Limited by slow speed, short range, limited rocket fuel and hence short flight times.

The most up-to-date, ground launched American Patriot missiles have a speed of Mach 3.5, a range of just under 70 km and a maximum flight time of 3.5 minutes. The missile will likely burn out and fall to the ground before it can hit the MIG 41. Also if the MIG41 manouvers at high Mach, the Patriot missile with its limited fuel burn time will not have the kinetic energy to track the plane's movement.

The MIG41 can also fly unmanned. Without a human pilot and most likely using advanced AI. They can perform truly daredevil missions then. 

The real implications : The USAF, RAF and NATO airforces can remain on the ground. This is the real implication. The speed is a game changer.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.