MiG-25 Foxbat

TypeInterceptor and reconnaissance
Country of originSoviet Union (now Russia)
First flight6 March 1964
Numbers built1,190 units
Unit costs- Data not available -
Max speedHigh altitude: Mach 3.2 (3,600 km/h, 2,170 mph); Mach 2.83 (3,200 km/h, 1,920 mph) continuous engine limit
Low altitude: 1,200 km/h (650 knots, 740 mph)
Max rangeRange: 1,730 km (935 nmi, 1,075 mi) with internal fuel
Ferry range: 2,575 km (1,390 nmi)
DimensionsLength: 19.75 m (64 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 14.01 m (45 ft 11.5 in)
Height: 6.10 m (20 ft 0.25 in)
WeightEmpty weight: 20,000 kg (44,080 lb)
Loaded weight: 36,720 kg (80,952 lb)
Powerplant2 × Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojets
Dry thrust: 73.5 kN (16,524 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 100.1 kN (22,494 lbf) each
Armament2x radar-guided R-40R (AA-6 "Acrid") air-to-air missiles, and
2x infrared-guided R-40T missiles
OperatorsCurrent operators:
Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Syria, Turkmenistan

Former operators:
Bulgaria, Belarus, India, Iraq, Georgia, Libya, Soviet Union, Ukraine

During the Cold War, the Western Block was restless about the news that the Soviet Union was developing a new fighter. The information they had was not complete, so they thought it was a fighter by looking at its design, large wings and tailplanes. The large wing was later known to be due to the aircraft’s very heavy weight. The mysterious aircraft spurred dramatic increases in performance for the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle in late 1960s.

In 1976, the Western had a better information about the then developed aircraft after a Soviet pilot namely Viktor Belenko defected to the United States via Japan flying a MiG-25. From this incident, the Western learned many things about the MiG-25, which they called Foxbat.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 was designed and developed by the Soviet Union’s Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau. The first prototype flew in 1964 and started entering service in 1970. The MiG-25 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.83+ (as high as Mach 3.2, but at risk of significant damage to the engines), and equipped with a powerful radar and four air-to-air missiles.

Production of the MiG-25 series stopped in 1984 after reaching a total of 1,190 aircrafts. In the history of military aviation, the MiG-25 remains the fastest combat aircraft ever built.

Design and development history

The Soviet Union had a vast airspace; therefore the country needed a great air guardian from any border violations of neighboring countries especially its cold enemy, the United States, who had advanced capabilities sending strategic bombers which could carry free-fall nuclear bombs and high-altitude supersonic reconnaissance aircrafts breaching into the Soviet Union’s territories.

Thus, the Soviet Union military required a high-altitude and supersonic interceptor to halt the movement of any flying threats such as the Lockheed U-2. Of several proposed models, the MiG-25 Foxbat then developed.

The MiG-25 uses 80% nickel steel alloy, 11% aluminium, and 9% titanium. The MiG-25 was theoretically can reach of a top speed of Mach 3+ and a service ceiling of 90,000 ft (27,000 m). However, its high speed carried a problem as the turbines were easy to overheat at higher speeds.

To accomplish its task, the MiG-25 Foxbat equipped with four air-to-air missiles, two are radar guided and the other two are infrared guided missiles.

The variants of the MiG-25 Foxbat

Following are some variants of the MiG-25:

  • MiG-25R “Foxbat-B” – Single-seat reconnaissance aircraft, fitted with cameras, sensors and ECCM equipment.
  •  MiG-25P “Foxbat-A” – Single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft, powered by two Tumansky R-15B-300 turbojet engines, armed with four R-40 air-to-air missiles.
  • MiG-25PU “Foxbat-C” – Two-seat trainer aircraft, with a new nose section fitted with two separate cockpits, lacks radar and has no combat capability.
  • MiG-25RB “Foxbat-B” – Single-seat reconnaissance-bomber aircraft, fitted with cameras and a Peleng automatic bombing system. The aircraft can carry a bomb load of six 1,102 lb (500 kg) bombs or one nuclear weapon.
  • MiG-25RBS “Foxbat-D” – Single-seat reconnaissance-bomber aircraft, fitted with cameras and a side looking airborne radar (SLAR), equipped with a Sabla radio location system.
  • MiG-25RBSh – The newest version of the MiG-25RBS “Foxbats” equipped with new equipment.
  • MiG-25RBV – Single-seat reconnaissance-bomber aircraft; included some improved equipments.
  • MiG-25RU – Two-seat reconnaissance, trainer aircraft, it has no operational equipment.
  • MiG-25BM “Foxbat-F” – Single-seat defence-suppression aircraft, armed with Kh-58 or Kh-31 air-to-surface missiles.
  • MiG-25PD “Foxbat-E” – Single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft.
  • MiG-25PDS – A designation of the MiG-25P “Foxbat A”s. Upgraded in the early 1980s.

The operators of the MiG-25 Foxbat series

Some countries have been putting their trust to the MiG-25 to guard their airspace from any incoming intruders as of now. They are Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Syria, Turkmenistan.

Some other countries were the operators of this powerful interceptor such as Bulgaria, Belarus, Georgia, India, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and the Soviet Union.
Nowadays, civilians can also enjoy flying the Cold War symbol by following adventure tourism in Russia. The MiG-25 Foxbat can perform the edge of space flight into the stratosphere (20,000 km above sea level).

MiG25 Foxbat videos

Mikoyan Mig-25 Foxbat

Wings of the Red Star: MiG-25 Foxbat Deception

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