Russia says its sixth-generation fighter jets will be capable of space travel and could be operated without a pilot.
The new interceptor, currently being designed to replace the MiG 31, will be a spiritual successor to its older sibling.
It will feature far more advanced armaments and capabilities, according to claims made by its manufacturers.
But it could be a while before we see the aircraft in action, with experts predicting they won’t be ready until at least 2035.
The jet will not be just a modernisation of the MiG-31 Ilya Tarasenko told Russian TV, according to reports in the UK Defence Journal.
The MiG CEO says it will be an entirely new machine with ‘the ability to operate in space, new weapons, new speeds, new operational range.’
In an interview aired on Zvezda TV yesterday, Mr Tarasenko added: ‘The development is at the stage of finalising the image of the plane.
‘It will be a gradual transition from MiG-31 to PAK DA.
‘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.’
There is little information available about the plane other than that it is planned for development.
No official data has been released detailing the plane’s capabilities.
But this is not the first grand claim made for the new high altitude fighter.
Russia previously said it will deploy powerful lasers on its jets to destroy enemy missiles.
The lasers will be able to ‘burn’ enemy homing systems on attacking missiles, according to the Russian defence industry.
Speaking to Russian news agency, TASS, Vladimir Mikheyev, the Adviser to the First Deputy CEO of Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET), said: ‘We already have laser protection systems installed on aircraft and helicopters, and now we are talking about developments in the field of powered lasers that will be able to physically destroy attacking missiles’ homing heads.
‘Roughly speaking, we’ll be able to burn out ‘the eyes’ of missiles that ‘look at us.’
‘Naturally, such systems will be installed on sixth-generation aircraft as well.’
While Mr Mikheyev is optimistic about the laser aircrafts, it could be a while before they are deployed.
Experts speaking to National Interest said that the sixth generation aircraft is still in the stage of conceptual design.
Vasily Kashin, a Russian defence analyst at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) told The National Interest that the sixth generation aircraft would be ‘at best deployed by 2035-40.’