Foreign journalists note that Russian aircraft manufacturers have recently been qualitatively modernizing successful Soviet aircraft, constantly improving their performance. In particular, we are talking about the modern version of the MiG-31BM, deep modernization has actually made it possible to create a modern aircraft with outstanding performance. At the same time, missile weapons were improved for this fighter, including long-range R-37 missiles, and the aircraft also got the opportunity to use Kinzhal hypersonic missiles for strikes on the ground, which have sniper accuracy at distances up to 2000 kilometers.
The Soviet MiG-31 high-altitude interceptor took to the air in 1975 and became one of the world's first fourth-generation combat aircraft with an extremely high speed of Mach 3. The MiG-31 is one of the military developments that have never been delivered abroad, which also speaks of its special status. At present, the Russian Aerospace Forces have 370 fighters of this type at their disposal and are not going to abandon them in the foreseeable future. Its modern version of the MiG-31BM received network-centric control, a phased array radar, equipment for real-time data exchange with the AWACS aircraft, the ability to work at any time of the day and fly in the stratosphere.
Even in its original version, the MiG-31 has decent performance. First of all, its carrying capacity deserves attention. Due to the fact that the takeoff weight of the interceptor exceeds 30 tons, the troops call it a “combat airship”. It is a two-seat, supersonic, high-altitude, long-range, all-weather fighter-interceptor. The MiG-31 is designed to intercept and destroy air targets at extremely low, medium and high altitudes, day and night, in simple and difficult weather conditions, when the enemy uses active and passive radar interference, as well as false thermal targets. A group of four MiG-31 aircraft is capable of controlling airspace with a frontal length of up to 1,100 km.
According to official statements, almost all aircraft available to the troops have been upgraded to the level of the MiG-31BM. Due to the improvement of on-board radio-electronic equipment and weapons, the efficiency of the MiG-31BM has increased by 2.6 times. Modernization improves the combat power of fighters several times, which increases the ability to perform assigned tasks. Thanks to unique radars, the aircraft sees both high-altitude targets flying at hypersonic speeds and cruise missiles hiding at ultra-low altitudes. The aircraft is capable of detecting targets at a distance of up to 320 kilometers and simultaneously hitting 6 and tracking up to 10. Now the fighter, using air-to-air missiles, is guaranteed to destroy targets at a distance of up to 280 km. Ammunition with even greater reach is being developed.
The new equipment expands the capabilities of the MiG-31BM, turning it from a highly specialized interceptor into a multifunctional combat unit that effectively interacts with air defense anti-aircraft missile systems. In particular, a powerful radar can be used to target air targets with guided missiles launched from other fighters approaching the enemy at the distance of a missile salvo in radar silence mode. The aircraft can also be used as a kind of air command post, coordinating the actions of other types of fighters equipped with less powerful radars.
Currently, MiG-31BMs are used to carry out combat duty for air defense both in Kamchatka and in the regions of the Far North. This aircraft is well suited for flights in the Arctic, it confidently copes with work in the temperature range from −50 to +50.
Meanwhile, the designers are already working on a new high-altitude interceptor, MiG-41. It will have outstanding performance in all respects — fly at speeds greater than Mach 5, approach the edge of space, have artificial intelligence and be able to use anti-satellite weapons.
Source: https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/06 /mig-31-russian-air-force-staple/
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