MiG-31 Foxhound

Country of originSoviet Union, later Russia
ManufacturerMikoyan Gurevich
First flightSeptember 16, 1975
Numbers built400
Unit costsUSD 57-60 million
Max speedHigh altitude: Mach 2.83 (3,000 km/h, 1,860 mph)[3]
Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (1,500 km/h, 930 mph)
Max rangeCombat radius: 720 km (450 mi) at Mach 2.35
Ferry range: 3,300 km (2,050 mi)
DimensionsLength: 22.69 m (74 ft 5 in)
Wingspan: 13.46 m (44 ft 2 in)
Height: 6.15 m (20 ft 2 in)
WeightEmpty weight: 21,820 kg (48,100 lb)
Loaded weight: 41,000 kg (90,400 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 46,200 kg (101,900 lb)
Powerplant2 × Soloviev D-30F6 afterburning turbofans
Dry thrust: 93 kN (20,900 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 152 kN (34,172 lbf) each
Armament1× GSh-6-23 23 mm cannon with 260 rounds.
Fuselage recesses for 4× R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') (or for MiG-31M/BM only 6× R-37 (AA-X-13 'Arrow') long-range air-to-air missiles)

4 underwing pylons for a combination of:
4× R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid')
4× R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') short-range IR missiles,
4× R-77 (AA-12 'Adder') medium-range missiles.

Some aircrafts are equipped to launch the Kh-31P (AS-17 'Krypton') and Kh-58 (AS-11 'Kilter') anti-radiation missiles in the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) role.
OperatorsKazakhstan, Russia, Syria (future plan), Soviet Union (former user)
The Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound is a Russian-made long-range interceptor aircraft which has a role to intercept any flying-threat, especially enemy’s bombers and reconnaissance aircrafts. The MiG-31 is also capable to halt incoming cruise missiles. This interceptor is manned by two persons, one pilot and one weapon system officer. The MiG-31 Foxhound was intended to counter North American XB-70 Valkyrie bomber which could reach maximum speed of Mach 3.

The West firstly learned of the MiG-31 from a Soviet MiG-25 pilot named Lieutenant Viktor Belenko who defected to Japan in 1976. He testified that the Soviet Union was developing a new interceptor which he called it as Super Foxbat.

MiG-31 development

The MiG-31 Foxhound was mainly based on the design of its predecessor, the MiG-25 Foxbat, an interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft which has a top speed of Mach 2.83+. The MiG-25 Foxbat itself had sparked off fear in the West, prompting significant development of the F-15 Eagle. However, the Soviet Union thought that a better long-range interceptor should be developed.

Then the Ye-155MP was developed, the first prototype which later would be the MiG-31 Foxhound which had its first flight in September 16, 1975. The Ye-155MP was the improved version of the MiG-25 Foxbat. As a result of reducing structural mass by doubling the use of titanium up to 16% and using more aluminium content up to 33%, the Ye-155MP could perform supersonic flight at low altitude. The prototype also could increase its fuel capacity and had more efficient low bypass ratio turbofan engines.

The Ye-155 than re-engined and turned into the Ye-266 which achieved maximum altitude of 37,650 m or 123.524 ft reached a record of having 4,000 m of height in just 4 minutes 11.78 seconds.

The development continued until the MiG-31 was massively produced. Since 1979 up to 2000, reportedly there were 400 units of MiG-31.

Operational history of the MiG-31 Foxhound

The Soviet Anti-Air Defense firstly operated the MiG-31 in 1982. Unfortunately, following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, budget became a big problem. Then maintenance of the MiG-31 collapsed, many squadrons could not afford the cost.

There was only 20% of remaining aircraft able to serve the country. Fortunately, in early 2006, following a recovery of Russian economy, the country was able to allow around 75% of the MiG-31 Foxhound to get back in service. There are approximately active 370 units of the MiG-31 in Russia.

MiG-31 usage for tourism flight

Civilians also have opportunities to fly the MiG-31 Foxhound. As this long-range interceptor has service ceiling of 20,600 m (67,600 ft), many aviation enthusiasts have enjoyed their time having the edge of space flight which can be done in Russia.

MIG-31 Foxhound videos

Get close to MiG-31 Foxhound (in Russian)

MiG-31 Foxhound documentary (in Russian)

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