Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 & MiG-31 Foxbat / Foxhound - History, Design, Performance & Dissection

Moving my old threads to the new forum.

Link to the old one: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 & MiG-31 Foxbat / Foxhound - History, Design, Performance & Dissection - Soviet Union - War Thunder - Official Forum

Hope you find it useful! If you think there may be an error, let me know.

Origins


j5bxkon.png

(Models of Ye-155P prototype, Ye-155PU trainer and Ye-155R recon version)

The idea of designing a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor for the PVO (Protivovozdooshnaya Oborona, “Air Defense Force”) (the Soviet Air Force was split into two separate “sections”: the VVS which included the fighters and ground attack aircraft and the PVO with the interceptors) dates all the way back to 1960.

Lockheed U-2 spy aircraft were provoking Soviet airspace starting from May 1960, and were continuously invincible to Soviet defenses until one was shot down in 1961, piloted by Francis Gary Powers. The Soviet defenses were equipped with the S-25 SAM in the 1950s, which had limited range and kill altitude. The S-75 SAM was developed to replace the older S-25, and incidentally it was the one that shot down the U-2, but it wasn’t enough. For this reason, the Soviets immediately began the process of modernizing their aging PVO which was mostly occupied by aircraft incapable of reaching such altitudes, and even if they could reach such altitudes they did not have the weapons to deal with those threats. The PVO at that time consisted of the Yak-25, Yak-28P, in addition to the Su-9 and MiG-19PM, both equipped with beam-riding AAMs.

Experimental versions of the Yak-27 and MiG-19 with rocket boosters were designed in order to reach such altitudes, but they didn’t have any luck in production. Sukhoi OKB had more luck with their Su-9 design; an interceptor with the capability of destroying supersonic targets traveling at 20,000 m. Sounds perfect, but the catch was that the Su-9 had very limited range. Other aircraft available for the PVO were large, heavyweight aircraft which lacked cannons and weren’t meant to dogfight.

E7whWZJ.png

(Ye-152M, the ultimate development of the Ye-150/152 family, carrying the Tu-128’s R-4R AAMs)

The other major step undertaken by the Soviets in combating the threat of U-2 spyplanes was developing the Ye-150/152 family by Mikoyan and Gurevich. These jets had remarkable performance, thanks to their mighty Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojet with up to 10,150 kgf on afterburner! With this engine, the Ye-152 scored many world speed records. Although initially, it was powered by two Tumansky R-11F-300 turbojets due to development delays with the previously talked about turbine.

RJV7HTf.png

(Ye-152A with K-9 air-to-air missiles)

It was also equipped with the impressive RP-S Smerch radar, with a detection range of 100 km against bomber-sized targets and a maximum tracking range of 50 km. The radar was to work in conjunction with the K-9 AAMs, with a kill range of 9 km, had it entered service it would have been designated R-38.

However these prototypes were unsuccessful for many reasons, but their technology led the way to developing more efficient interceptors (the RP-S radar of the Ye-150/152 was developed into the MiG-25’s radar!). Thus, the decision was taken to abandon these prototypes in favor of more promising projects.

BsjDjQV.png

Though the Ye-150/152 barely resemble the MiG-25, they greatly helped to develop what would become the Foxbat, in particular the powerplant and radar.

The Bat’s Conception


DFOuI3L.png

(Ye-155 model, note the R-40 AAMs)

As the Convair B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber became operational with the USAF and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird program was launched, Soviet intelligence gained information on it two years before the Blackbird’s A-12 prototype first flew, and the Soviet government demanded an adequate response to those incoming threats. The aircraft to be designed was described as a design with exceptional flight performance and a comprehensive avionics suite.

Rumor has it that the MiG-25’s story began with a conversation from Artem Mikoyan, who had just returned from the 1959 Paris Air Show, and project designer Yakov Seletskiy. Mikoyan ran into Seletskiy as he was passing the corridor of the OKB-155 office suggested that Seletskiy should draw an interceptor along the lines of (North American RA-5 Vigilante) but powered by two R-15B-300 turbojets, designed to fly at 300 km/h and without all-too sophisticated lift devices. Other sources suggest that the idea was first drawn up before any official information on the Vigilante was revealed. Needless to say, actual work on the project began in mid-1959. After a few weeks of hard work, it was clear that the design had potential, however it was also clear that the development of this aircraft called for a redesign in airframe, avionics, weaponry and most importantly manufacturing techniques.

The project aroused the PVO, which was looking for a high-speed interceptor and the VVS which was looking for a reconnaissance platform. The requirements stated by both were similar: an aircraft with a ceiling excess of 20,000 m and a top speed of around mach 3. Due to this, it was decided to joint-design an aircraft to fulfill both roles and an agreement on this was reached in 1960. In February next year (1961), the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) issued a joint directive with the Council of Ministers, tasking Mikoyan with developing the Ye-155 high-speed high altitude aircraft, the Ye-155P being the interceptor version, and the Ye-155R being the recon one. By the time work commenced, the designers had amassed a wealth of experience, and the only suitable engine was the R-15B-300. Actually it wasn’t the only one; Rybinsk Engine Design Bureau was developing the even more powerful RD17-16 but that was produced in only a handful of examples and intended mainly for supersonic heavy bombers such as the Myasischev M-52 which was never realized.

Apart from the engine, the Ye-150/152 family helped refine items that would go into the Ye-155, such as analogue computers, communications, IFF equipment, command link equipment, ejection seats, air conditioning systems and so on.

Originally and interestingly, the Ye-155P interceptor prototype was supposed to carry two K-9M air-to-air missiles (later four), adapted to the Smerch radar of the Ye-152, however as the work progressed Bisnovat proposed the even better K-40 (later called R-40) AAMs, which featured a motor capable of burning for a long time, large cruciform wings for good high altitude performance and a titanium body for better resistance to kinetic heating at high mach numbers (mach 3 - 4). It was produced in two variants: the infrared-homing model designated R-40T, and the semi-active radar-homing version designated R-40R. The IR model was very promising, since the Ye-155P was intended to attack aircraft with high heat signatures and it was capable of destroying targets from any angle. Also, the mixed complement of SARH and IR missiles made the weapons system more effective against enemy countermeasures.

2Qb9Upa.png

A built-in cannon was proposed at various times of development, but the idea was eventually dismissed.

The Ye-155R on the other hand was proposed to have cameras of course, the number and variants of which depended on the versions of the aircraft that were proposed (Version 1, 2, 3 and 4 existed as ideas), but they were all proposed to be equipped with two ASO-2I chaff/flare dispensers, SRZO-2 IFF and SPO-10 Sirena-3 RWRs.

edFDhrs.png

One of the first iterations of the recon version was the Ye-158 - a proposed high-altitude, high-speed supersonic recon jet with swing wings. These plans were drawn on the basis of the Ye-155R - the planned recon version of the Foxbat. It would have had a total of two crew members and its wings resembled the FB-111A’s greatly.

The Ye-158, a project intended to produce an aircraft for high-speed, high-altitude PHOTINT and ELINT, with a secondary tactical bomber role. It would have been also able to carry tactical nukes. However the variable geometry wings increased its maximum takeoff weight and the wing design was of little use to the aircraft’s primary mission, nor was STOL called for due to it envisioned as being too heavy for that; originally there was also the idea that it would be able to operate from short landing strips, and the navigator seat idea was deemed unnecessary and thus dropped in the MiG-25R.

The Ye-158 was to have a weight ranging between 40,000 - 45,000 kg, a takeoff run of 400 m from dirt runways, a speed of 3,000 - 3,500 km/h at high altitude and 1,400 km/h - 1,500 km/h at sea level, and a range of up to 5,000 km at high altitudes while flying at subsonic speeds or 2,500 km with the afterburner on.

WjzBjfr.png

Alongside the Ye-158, a STOL version was also proposed without the swing wings for the same purpose of taking off from short, dirt runways, but much like the Ye-158 it wasn’t realized.

There were also other proposed versions, such as the Ye-155RD drone carrier and Kh-155DR reconnaissance drone. The main idea behind the Ye-155R was to penetrate enemy defenses using high altitude performance and then carry out surveillance, however the medium altitude mission was also still there. The basic principle was to release the drone in safe conditions where the mother ship wouldn’t be under threat, and carry out recon using the drone.

A Ye-155R drone carrier with the composite reconnaissance system was also proposed, alongside a version with high-lift auxiliary engines, even an attack aircraft designated Ye-155Sh and a mix attack/recon aircraft called the Ye-155ShR. The design was very flexible to the point they considered a supersonic business derivative too.

kSgdkUn.png

(Supersonic business jet derived from the Ye-155)

Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-155R-1 / Ye-155R-2 / Ye-155R-3 / Ye-155R-4 / Ye-155R-5 / Ye-155R-6 - Espionage Underway


fky7DWU.png

(Ye-155R-1 prototype)

The first reconnaissance prototype, the Ye-155R-1, rolled out of the Moscow Machinery Plant No.155 in December 1963. It represented the reconnaissance version but also carried a rather incomplete equipment fit, lacking the cameras, ECM gear, the Peleng LORAN, Romb-1K SHORAN systems, the HF radio set and automatic route-following system. It had a wing incidence at zero degrees and like other MiG-25 prototypes it had small flat airfol-shaped fairings and removable panels on the sides of the air intake trunks, which allowed the installation of moveable canard foreplanes to enhance pitch control at high mach speeds but this idea was eventually dropped.

By the time the aircraft received its R-15B-300 engines, their maximum reheat thrust was uprated from 10,150 kgf to 11,200 kgf. Ground and system checks proceeded until the 6th of March, 1964, when the prototype finally took off, thus beginning the flight tests. Problems arose at transonic speeds with the aircraft banking on its own and countering with full rudder deflection didn’t work. They had already amassed experienced from this earlier with the MiG-17 and MiG-19 prototypes, and the issue was resolved with wing modifications. Speaking of which, the wing had excessive vibrations as well, caused by fuel sloshing from and to wing tanks. The aircraft’s stability also decreased the faster it went, the afterburners flamed out at high altitudes, increasing fuel consumption and shortening the service life of the engines and other mechanisms. This was resolved by removing the tip tanks. Fuel consumption was also higher than anticipated, as well as the maximum takeoff weight.

The second prototype, rolled out from the same production plant, was the Ye-155R-2 in 1965. The second prototype resolved the issues encountered in the first prototype from its maiden flight. At the same time, the Gorkiy No.21 plant was about to roll out the first two Ye-155P interceptor prototypes to speed up the process of “debugging” of the airframe.

Zkhjyu9.png

(Ye-155R-3)

More Ye-155R prototypes were planned to arrive at the scene. However, Mikoyan OKB’s experimental production plant in Moscow was just about to begin building the prototypes of the MiG-23, so it was decided to build the Ye-155Rs (and also the Ye-155Ps) in pre-production batches. The first of these was the Ye-155R-3, which had a complete camera fit and was to be assembled before the end of 1965, but a delay occurred. With this prototype as well, the wing incidence was changed from zero to two degrees. The prototype was rolled out on the 6th of May, 1966, ground checks lasted exactly 60 days (2 months) and it first flew in July the same year. The A-70 and A-72M cameras gave acceptable results at 6,000 m. This prototype served as the greater part of the test program for the recon version to be completed on.

HYXUPEW.png

(Rare photo of the Ye-155R-3 in flight)

The fourth prototype was the Ye-155R-4, the second pre-production example. It had a redesigned tail unit based on the Ye-155P-6 interceptor and secondly, it had an almost conical nose shape instead of being double curvatured. The root fairings for the proposed canards were also permanently deleted.

Several new items were also tested on this example, namely the Peleng-S and Polyot-1I navigation systems as well as interchangeable liquid-cooled pallet-mounted ECM sets and the Prizma HF radio. Testing the first two was the toughest part, and on the Ye-155R-5 they were fitted. Due to them being very risky, test pilot Minenko was injured while flying the Ye-155R-5. Despite the controversy behind those systems, Mikoyan insisted on clearing the Ye-155R for production. The fourth and final pre-production unit was the Ye-155R-6.

In 1969, the State Commission finally approved the Ye-155R for production under the designation of MiG-25R.

bPPQDYe.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-155P-1 / Ye-155P-2 / Ye-155P-3 thru Ye-155P-11 - The Icon Taking Shape

1ER5D55.png

(Ye-155P-1)

Wearing no tactical code, the first interceptor prototype was completed in the summer of 1964 and made its first flight on the 9th of September. It was basically similar to the Ye-155R-3, except in the nose section which instead of cameras being incorporated, the nose was designed to accomodate the RP-25 Smerch-A radar. Actually, the first prototype didn’t have it just yet; it was replaced by test instrumentation for the first flight. It only had two pylons; the addition of two more (four in total) came only later. K-40 air-to-air dummy missiles were carried under each wing pylon, painted in bright red.

The second prototype was also completed in Moscow, which had arrived at the test facility a year later. The Ye-155P-2 was almost identical to the first prototype, right down to the lack of radar. Both were used for world speed records and to complete a greater part of the manufacturer’s tests. They did not participate in the State Acceptance Trials.

The Ye-155P-3 thru Ye-155P-11 were used for the acceptance trials, and the third prototype was the first to have the radar installed. Yet, the third, fourth and fifth prototypes still had an incomplete avionics suite. The Ye-155P-3 and P-4 were completed in 1966, and the Ye-155P-5 was finished in 1967 by the Gorkiy plant.

Together with the Ye-155R-3, the three interceptor prototypes took part in an airshow on the 9th of July, 1967 at Moscow-Domodedvo, the same airshow the Su-17 prototype took part in.

qpHZGLv.png

(At the airshow)

5jptziW.png

(The Ye-155P-4, breaking formation from the camera ship)

In 1967, the Ye-155P-6 thru Ye-155P-9 were completed at the Gorkiy plant. These had a redesigned vertical tail that became the standard on production examples. The fins were slightly enlarged and recontoured. Wing anhedral was increased to five degrees

The final pre-production examples were the Ye-155P-10 and Ye-155P-11. They shared the same characteristics as the Ye-155P-6; being fully-equipped interceptors including the radar set. Due to the new mechanics and more manufacturing of more advanced materials, the MiG-25 posed a technological challenge for the production plant to produce the plane. New tools, equipment etc had to be designed to produce the aircraft.

A number of design deficiencies were discovered during the trials. For example, when pulling 5G, the aircraft’s wingtips flexed 70 cm from their normal position, which resulted in possible aileron reversal and lost in control. Rather than changing the wing design, the designers set a theoretical limit of Mach 2.83 for this reason, and also because of the risk of decreasing the airframe’s life even faster.

Still however, in real life there are pilots who managed to exceed Mach 3 without lowering the airframe’s life expectancy by much. The record is Mach 3.6, achieved in 1971 over the Middle East by Nikolai Stogov. Moreover, the maximum speed of the MiG-25 (and any aircraft with jet powerplants) changes depending on the latitude and equator; for example, SR-71 tests have shown that the maximum speed of the aircraft near Edward AB was around 3,540 km/h, but near Moscow, the USAF air command judged the top speed at 3,200 km/h, hence why the record of Mach 3.6 achieved in the MiG-25 was over the Middle East: the aircraft was flying closer to the equator.

The aileron reversal was also still an issue at sea level, while going very fast. An incident on the 30th of October 1967 resulted in the death of a test pilot while attempting a time to weight speed record, and the cause of the crash was traced back to control loss from aileron reversal. For this reason, the designers imposed a 1,100 km/h IAS limit to prevent such accidents from happening again. Later, the OKB introduced differential stabilator deflection and redesigned the roll circuits. The limit was softened to 1,200 km/h then 1,300 km/h over time.

Yet, according to the manual, the MiG-25 is capable of up to 1,445 km/h at sea level (Mach 1.17) when the weight of the aircraft is 30 tons.

LvY4kta.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25P Early izdeliye 84 - The Birth of a Red Star

zw6dJlG.png

After the State Acceptance Trials were completed, the Ye-155P entered production as the MiG-25P, but in low rate production. It was identical to the prototype interceptors; it had the small vertical tail fins and endplate fins at the wingtips. That was at the time when the SR-71 was completing its flight tests, and its remarkable speed could only be countered by the MiG-25P. Therefore, the PVO’s top command instructed every possible industrial base to produce as many MiG-25s and as quickly as possible. The first MiG-25s were delivered in 1969.

This is the first production variant, with a top speed of 3,000 km/h at 13,000 m, a service ceiling of 20,500 m at least, a climb rate of 208 m/s. Its takeoff run was incredibly long at 1,250 m. The minimum operating speed was 400 km/h. However, the top speed of 3,000 km/h was only theoretical to prevent the airframe’s life from deteriorating faster. In 1971, Nikolai Stogov set a record of Mach 3.6 over the Middle East.

It was equipped with the RP-25 Smerch-A1 radar, with a maximum detection range of 90 - 105 km at high altitude against bombers, and a maximum tracking range of 50 - 70 km at high altitude depending on the size of the target, specifically 60 km in most conditions against bomber-sized targets. It was a powerful radar which was completely immune to ground clutter starting from 500 m, despite having no LD/SD capability (it’s a non-pulse doppler radar). The scanning ranges were 40 km / 80 km / 120 km.

In addition, the SPO-10 Sirena-3 RWR was fitted, alongside the SRZO-2 IFF equipment and many other avionic devices.

It did not have a built-in gun and relied exclusively on four missile pylons. The usual loadout was 2 x R-40T and 2 x R-40R. The R-40T was an impressive heat-seeker; with a maximum range of 30 km. The R-40R on the other hand had a maximum range of 36 km, and sported an inverse monopulse seeker.

Both the R-40T and R-40R sport an incredibly heavy warhead weight of 38 kg, making them the second heaviest and largest air-to-air missiles every produced (the R-40TD and RD being the heaviest, used by the MiG-25PD, see later below).

They had a maneuverability of around 24G, and a launch limit of 8G on the pylons. However, pilots were instructed not to fire them at targets pulling more than 2.5G, since at their operational altitude of more than 10,000 m no aircraft could pull more than that.

Since the MiG-25P only relied on four missiles, despite being effective, would still be limited in WT’s sphere.

Despite figures stating that its wing limit was 4.5G, this was set to make sure the wingtips wouldn’t flex too far from their original positions to then cause control loss. It wasn’t maneuverable at transonic speeds, but it didn’t mean that it couldn’t pull more than 4.5 - 5G due to wing failure. In WT, it would have a limit of around 7G if the safety G load is applied. In real life, there are reports of the MiG-25 withstanding 11G, and the MiG-25 is one of the most maneuverable aircraft at supersonic speeds, especially past Mach 2.

The maximum speed it would achieve at sea level in-game would be 1,300 km/h, slower than the MiG-21bis, MiG-23 and other jets, but still decent.

No countermeasures were included, as it was still 1969.

Game Equivalent: F-4C (without gun)

Pros:

  • Very fast; the fastest aircraft at high altitude when added to the game (3,000 km/h)
  • Good top speed of 1,300 km/h at sea level
  • Impressive heat-seekers with a range of 30 km and high air and launch overload characteristics
  • Well-ranged R-40R BVR weapon, with a range of 36 km and also equipped with an inverse monopulse seeker to filter out ground clutter
  • Powerful radar with ground clutter immunity starting from 500 m, a detection range of up to 100 km and a tracking range of 70 km
  • Very high acceleration
  • Fast climb rate (208 m/s)
  • Very good roll rate
  • High service ceiling (20,500 m)

Cons:

  • Underwhelming maneuverability; 4.5G (though it’s a safety limit)
  • No gun(s) whatsoever
  • Four missiles only
  • Despite being decently fast at sea level, other aircraft in the game will still outrun it
  • No chaff/flare dispensers
  • Big target to shoot at
  • No pulse-doppler radar

mqp5hM2.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25P Late izdeliye 84 - Production en-Mass

lhQRLJP.jpg

In 1971, the MiG-25P entered full scale production at the Gorkiy No.21 plant. It differed from the LRIP (low rate initial production) version by having the enlarged and recontoured fins, the smaller ventral fins and wings with five degrees anhedral and no endplates. Also, the nose gear had a redesigned door.

Other than those changes, nothing much else happened. It retained the RP-25 Smerch-A1 radar with the K-10T sight. Its avionics suite also comprised of the Vozdukh-1 GCI system, Lazour datalink, an SPO-10 Sirena-3 RWR, an IFF set (SRZO-2M transmitter and SRZM-2 receiver), RV-UM low-range radio altimeter, ARK-10 ADF, MRP-56P marker beacon receiver, SP-50 ILS, RSBN-6S SHORAN set, R-832M and Prizma radios and the SAU-155P1 automatic control system.

In addition, instead of the KM-1 production seat used in early production examples (which allowed the speed limit to be increased to 1,300 km/h), the KM-1M was instituted.

Later, the MiG-25P “Late” was also fitted with the better RP-25 Smerch-A2 radar, replacing the older RP-25 Smerch-A1, with improved reliability in ECM environments, followed by the Smerch-A3 which improved on those features further, in the production line.

Game Equivalent: F-4C (without gun)

Pros:

  • Very fast; the fastest aircraft at high altitude when added to the game (3,000 km/h)
  • Good top speed of 1,300 km/h at sea level
  • Impressive heat-seekers with a range of 30 km and high air and launch overload characteristics
  • Well-ranged R-40R BVR weapon, with a range of 36 km and also equipped with an inverse monopulse seeker to filter out ground clutter
  • Powerful radar with ground clutter resistance starting from 500 m, a detection range of up to 100 km and a tracking range of 70 km, the ones on the MiG-25P Late being the further improved models
  • Very high acceleration
  • Fast climb rate (208 m/s)
  • Very good roll rate
  • High service ceiling (20,500 m)

Cons:

  • Underwhelming maneuverability; 4.5G (though it’s a safety limit)
  • No gun(s) whatsoever
  • Four missiles only
  • Despite being decently fast at sea level, other aircraft in the game will still outrun it
  • No chaff/flare dispensers
  • Big target to shoot at
  • No pulse-doppler radar

NVujfOb.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PD izdeliye 84D - Foxbat Revised

0oCZRYs.jpg

Following Lt. Victor Belenko’s defection to Hakodate, Japan in 1976, the Soviet government freaked out especially when they learned the U.S had studied the MiG-25P in detail. An order to replace the MiG-25P with a much better version was quickly released, and MiG OKB engineers scrambled to improve on their Foxbat design in a crash program. Belenko revealed to the West that the Soviets had more than 400 MiG-25Ps at their disposal in 1976.

A new radar, on the basis of the Sapfir RP-23 of the MiG-23, was born for the new MiG-25 variant. The new radar was designated Sapfir RP-25M and it was even more capable than the previous Smerch-A3. Target detection range at high altitude against bombers in head-on mode increased from 90 - 100 km to 110 - 115 km, though when well-tuned the range could be extended to 120 km. The maximum tracking range was increased from 70 to 80 km.

Detection range at low altitude was between 27 and 30 km in head-on, and 14 - 25 km in pursuit (RCS = 19 m2). At an RCS of 0.1 m2, they were 3 - 6 km and 9 - 11 km respectively.

At high altitude, the target detection range was 63 - 80 km, and 50 - 60 km for its tracking range, both in pursuit.

Target lock-on range at low altitude was 12 - 23 km in pursuit, and 25 - 27 km head-on at RCS = 19 m2. At an RCS of 0.1 m2; 3 - 5.5 km and 5 - 7 km respectively.

Azimuth elevation was 60 x 6 degrees. The new radar picked out targets better than the Smerch.

In addition, vastly improved R-40 missiles were developed. Designated R-40TD (IR) and R-40RD (SARH), the new missiles had twice the kill range of their predecessors (50 and 60 km respectively). They also had an improved target G load; from 2.5G to 8G, since they were fitted with much better seekers. The R-40RD was fitted with the RGS-24 seeker, taken from the R-24R of the MiG-23P, MLA and MLD. On the other hand, the R-40TD had the new 35T1 seeker which gave it spectacular all-aspect capability. The warhead weight was also increased from 36 to 55 kg. The tracking ceiling for both was also increased from 500 - 27,000 m to 500 - 30,000 m max.

A decision was also taken to equip the new MiG-25 variant with R-60 or R-60M dogfight air-to-air missiles in APU-60-2 racks. This allowed it to load four R-60/R-60M missiles alongside R-40R/R-40RD or R-40T/R-40TD missiles (one pair of each).

The TP-26Sh IRST was also fitted. For the first time, the MiG-25 had an IRST, to detect aerial targets. Moreover, Soviet IRST was capable of “slaving” heat-seeking missiles, so instead of using the radar to acquiring lock in order to slave missiles, the IRST did that job instead, which allowed for sneak attacks as IRST was a passive weapon that did not emit radar waves to warn the enemy’s RWR.

A new BAN-75 datalink was fitted, alongside new GCI to replace the Vozdukh-1M and a new IFF set. The new MiG-25 was designated MiG-25PD (“D” for “dorabotannyy”, Russian for “improved”). The maximum ceiling was also heightened to 20,700 m.

Following the breakup of the USSR, all former SFSRs received the MiG-25PD.

Game Equivalent: F-4E, F-4EJ, Mirage IIIE

Pros:

  • Very fast; the fastest aircraft at high altitude when added to the game (3,000 km/h)
  • Good top speed of 1,300 km/h at sea level
  • New R-40RD and R-40TD air-to-air missiles with twice the kill range of their predecessors, higher warhead weight and improved maneuverability
  • New R-40TD with all-aspect capability
  • A new even more powerful pulse-doppler radar with higher range than the Smerch-A3; the Sapfir RP-25M, and improved reliability in LD/SD and ECM
  • R-60 and R-60M missiles added in double-racked APU-60-2 launchers, increasing its dogfight capability and its maximum missile count from 4 to 6
  • IRST added; TP-26Sh to detect targets and “slave” missiles for sneak attacks
  • Very high acceleration
  • Fast climb rate (208 m/s)
  • Very good roll rate
  • High service ceiling, improved from 20,500 m to 20,700 m

Cons:

  • Underwhelming maneuverability; 4.5G (though it’s a safety limit)
  • Still no gun
  • Despite an increased missile count to six, the lack of gun still drags it down
  • Despite being decently fast at sea level, other aircraft in the game will still outrun it
  • Still no chaff/flare dispensers
  • Big target to shoot at

1NR6hVF.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PD izdeliye 84DE - Export Measures

HlOBWwh.png

(Libyan MiG-25PD, seen with 1 x R-40TD-1 + 1 x R-40RD-1 + 4 x R-60)

Since the defection of Belenko to Japan, which gave the West an opportunity to learn all about the MiG-25, the damage had already been done; in which case the Soviet leadership thought why not export it to a select few customers? The damage had already been done, might as well sell it to several Middle Eastern and African countries.

The exported MiG-25PD was a hybrid between the MiG-25P and Soviet MiG-25PD: it combined the long nose of the MiG-25P with the outdated WCS based on the Smerch-A2 radar, yet like the Soviet MiG-25PD it could carry the R-60 dogfight missiles, in addition to the R-40RD and R-40TD which were designated R-40RD-1 and R-40TD-1 for export.

Changes were also made to the IFF system to make the aircraft more suitable for export.

The export version was supplied to Libya, Iraq, Syria and Algeria. In 1984 alone, 38 MiG-25PDs were exported.

Game Equivalent: F-4E, F-4EJ, Mirage IIIE

Pros:

  • Very fast; the fastest aircraft at high altitude when added to the game (3,000 km/h)
  • Good top speed of 1,300 km/h at sea level
  • Powerful RP-25 Smerch-A2 radar
  • Gained access to the R-60 despite being an export model
  • Retained the IRST of the native MiG-25PD
  • Retained the R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • Very high acceleration
  • Fast climb rate (208 m/s)
  • Very good roll rate
  • High service ceiling, improved from 20,500 m to 20,700 m

Cons:

  • Underwhelming maneuverability; 4.5G (though it’s a safety limit)
  • Still no gun
  • Despite an increased missile count to six, the lack of gun still drags it down
  • Despite being decently fast at sea level, other aircraft in the game will still outrun it
  • The Sapfir RP-25M was replaced with the older RP-25 Smerch-A2
  • No access to R-60M missiles
  • Still no chaff/flare dispensers
  • Big target to shoot at

image

(Algerian Air Force MiG-25PD “FU31/3701”)


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PDS izdeliye 84DS - Mid-Life Enhancements

STBQggH.jpg

Due to the substantially improved combat capabilities of the MiG-25 seen in the MiG-25PD, MiG OKB took to the decision of upgrading all early production MiG-25Ps to the MiG-25PD standard.

Instead of the parabolic chute, it retained the older shorter conical-shaped housing. It also received the R-15BD-300 engines, a slight upgrade over the R-15B-300s.

Moreover, they realized that the MiG-25P and MiG-25PD also had to intercept at medium and low altitudes where they would be susceptible to enemy air defenses and encounters from other jet fighters. In 1982, a single MiG-25PDS “Red-94” was fitted with the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR, an improvement over the older SPO-10 Sirena-3 as it could not only detect aerial threats, but also missiles. A Gherahn active radar jammer was also included in the loadouts list in a ventral pod, as well as two overwing BVP-50-60 chaff/flare dispensers, each with 30 x KDS-155 cartridges.

It was successfully tested in 1983, yet wasn’t produced since the jammer pod couldn’t be produced in sufficient quantities. This was essentially an upgrade package, called the MiG-25PDSG.

A similar MiG-25PDS was also tested with the Gardeniya active radar jammer in a pod and a newer SPO-15LM Beryoza RWR. The CM dispensers were the same. This was the MiG-25PDSL.

Lastly, the MiG-25PDZ was a testbed for in-flight refueling.

Game Equivalent: F-4E, F-4EJ, Mirage IIIE

Pros:

  • Very fast; the fastest aircraft at high altitude when added to the game (3,000 km/h)
  • New engines with slightly more thrust
  • Good top speed of 1,300 km/h at sea level
  • New R-40RD and R-40TD air-to-air missiles with twice the kill range of their predecessors, higher warhead weight and improved maneuverability
  • New R-40TD with all-aspect capability
  • A new even more powerful pulse-doppler radar with higher range than the Smerch-A2; the Sapfir RP-25M, and improved reliability in LD/SD and ECM
  • R-60 and R-60M missiles added in double-racked APU-60-2 launchers, increasing its dogfight capability and its maximum missile count from 4 to 6
  • IRST added; TP-26Sh to detect targets and “slave” missiles for sneak attacks
  • Very high acceleration
  • Fast climb rate (208 m/s)
  • Very good roll rate
  • High service ceiling, improved from 20,500 m to 20,700 m
  • Chaff/flare dispensers added (MiG-25PDSG upgrade package)
  • New SPO-15L Beryoza RWR capable of also detecting missile threats (MiG-25PDSG) / SPO-15LM Beryoza (MiG-25PDSL)
  • Active radar jammer pods added (Gherahn or Gardeniya)

Cons:

  • Underwhelming maneuverability; 4.5G (though it’s a safety limit)
  • Still no gun
  • Despite an increased missile count to six, the lack of gun still drags it down
  • Despite being decently fast at sea level, other aircraft in the game will still outrun it
  • Big target to shoot at

5AcPEO9.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25R izdeliye 02 - Surveillance Coverage

7dzeF50.jpg

In 1969, following the success of the State Acceptance Trials, the Ye-155R entered production as the MiG-25R. All the deficiences and issues noted in the trials were refined.

The aircraft’s main equipment consisted of four oblique A-70M cameras for general purpose PHOTINT and one A/E-10 topographic camera with a 1,300 mm lens. These cameras enabled photo-capturing at altitudes up to 22,000 m.

For self protection, the MiG-25R could be fitted with either the SPS-141 Siren-1F, SPS-142 Siren-2F or the SPS-143 Siren-3F jammers which could also be equipped with IRCM.

As was the case with early MiG-25Ps, it had the KM-1 ejection seat, but then replaced with the better KM-1M.

Game Equivalent: None

Pros:

  • Very fast in level flight
  • High acceleration
  • High climb rate
  • Good roll rate
  • Equipped with self protection (SPS-141 pods)

Cons:

  • No offensive weaponry whatsoever
  • No radar
  • No RWR
  • No IRST
  • No gun
  • No missiles

02eAbxf.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25RB izdeliye 02B - Time to Strike

y0QFHiU.jpg

Following the defeat of the Arabs against Israel in 1967, Israel resorted to systematic strike missions against Egyptian military and industrial bases for air superiority. The Egyptians had enough, and thus contacted the Soviet government with the intention to purchase recon aircraft also capable of conducting strike missions. Supporting the Arabs was important for the USSR, considering they’re basically at perpetual war with Israel which is backed by the US.

Due to this, the Soviets took to the decision of improving the recon MiG-25R model by giving it ground attack capabilities. To increase bombing accuracy, the designers made the RSBN-6S SHORAN work with the Peleng navigation system. Since it had no bomb sight, bomb drops would be triggered automatically by the navigation computer as the aircraft approached the target. MERs were used.

Conversion work started in February 1970, and became operational in December the same year, with more than 220 produced eventually. It was equipped with FAB-100, FAB-250 and FAB-500 bombs, in addition to S-24 unguided rockets. The heaviest bomb load was 10 x FAB-500M-62.

Game Equivalent: None, currently no supersonic bombers

Pros:

  • Very fast in level flight
  • High acceleration
  • High climb rate
  • Good roll rate
  • Equipped with self protection (SPS-141 pods)
  • Bombs up to 500 kg and S-24 rockets were added for striking

Cons:

  • Almost defenseless against enemy fighters
  • No radar
  • No RWR
  • No IRST
  • No gun
  • No missiles

OBMoTMC.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25RBK izdeliye 02K / izdeliye 51 - Survivablity Supplemented

nabmVwW.png

To meet the VVS’ requirements, a version of the MiG-25RB was fitted with the Koob-3 detailed SIGINT suite was developed, which was designated MiG-25RBK.

The first prototype was a conversion from a MiG-25R “Blue-305”, which underwent rigorous testing between 1971 and 1973, and after passing trials it was produced from 1973 till 1980. Due to security against NATO, its internal designation was changed from izdeliye 02K to izdeliye 51.

It was equipped with the SPS-141 Siren-3F active jammer pod, which could also be fitted with chaff/flares, in addition to the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR.

When exported, it featured less sophisticated systems. Iraq, Libya, India and Syria received it.

Game Equivalent: None, currently no supersonic bombers

Pros:

  • Very fast in level flight
  • High acceleration
  • High climb rate
  • Good roll rate
  • Equipped with self protection (SPS-141 pods)
  • Bombs up to 500 kg and S-24 rockets were added for striking
  • Fitted with the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR

Cons:

  • Almost defenseless against enemy fighters
  • No radar
  • No IRST
  • No gun
  • No missiles

qy43bQt.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25RBS izdeliye 02S / izdeliye 52 - SLAR Revision

wU9ZEqP.jpg

On the basis of the MiG-25RBK, a version with the Sablya-E SLAR system was developed to capture photographs using radar imagery.

The first conversion took place in February 1970, from a MiG-25R. It retained everything from the MiG-25RBK, however no cameras were fitted.

Game Equivalent: None, currently no supersonic bombers

Pros:

  • Very fast in level flight
  • High acceleration
  • High climb rate
  • Good roll rate
  • Equipped with self protection (SPS-141 pods)
  • Bombs up to 500 kg and S-24 rockets were added for striking
  • Fitted with the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR
  • Sablya-E SLAR system

Cons:

  • Almost defenseless against enemy fighters
  • No radar
  • No IRST
  • No gun
  • No missiles

m7H3O3T.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25RBV izdeliye 02V / MiG-25RBT izdeliye 02T / MiG-25RBF izdeliye 02F / MiG-25RBSh izdeliye 02Sh - Utmost Recon/Strike Offensive

tOdstUQ.jpg

(MiG-25RBV in flight)

When the availability of the more modern SRS-9 Virzah general purpose SIGINT became available, it replaced the SRS-4A and SRS-4B SIGINT packs of the MiG-25RBK. The result was the MiG-25RBV, which was converted from a MiG-25R in 1970. Trials lasted between 1971 and 1971, then it entered production from 1973 till 1979.

Then in 1979, the Virzah SIGINT was replaced with the Tangazh SIGINT which was lighter and more reliable; it also had a wider range of detectable radars and their locations could be pinpointed. Outwardly, the new MiG-25RBT differed from the MiG-25RBV only in the brake chute housing.

vPvFZYh.jpg

(MiG-25RBT)

However, this was not enough. An upgrade program was launched in 1981 since the Sablya was extremely troubled. The new Shompol SLAR replaced it, and the new jet was designated MiG-25RBSh which was only outwardly different in the newer brake chute housing. The new SLAR allowed the aircraft to operate from 300 to 23,000 m, whereas the Sablya-E only operated at 17,000 m maximum. It also had a moving target selection mode (MTS) and a combined mapping mode.

15xa48g.jpg

(MiG-25RBSh)

The last recon variant was the MiG-25RBF. In 1981, it was the MiG-25RBK’s turn to get an MLU. The Koob-3M SIGINT was replaced with the up-to-date Shar-25 detailed SIGINT system. It could also be fitted with panoramic cameras, active radar jammers and two BVP-50-60 chaff/flare dispensers, each one with 30 x KDS-155.

Game Equivalent: None, currently no supersonic bombers

Pros:

  • Very fast in level flight
  • High acceleration
  • High climb rate
  • Good roll rate
  • Equipped with self protection (SPS-141 pods)
  • Chaff/flare dispensers (MiG-25RBF)
  • Bombs up to 500 kg and S-24 rockets were added for striking
  • Fitted with the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR
  • New, better SLAR systems (depending on the model)

Cons:

  • Almost defenseless against enemy fighters
  • No radar
  • No IRST
  • No gun
  • No missiles

RdiZrj8.jpg

(MiG-25RBF)


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25BM izdeliye 06M / izdeliye 66 - The Soviet Wild Weasel

l0GE6Kz.jpg

MiG OKB had heavily persisted with the idea of a SEAD aircraft based on the MiG-25, the prototype designation for this variant being the Ye-155K.

To this end, the MiG-25RBK was vastly changed to be adapted for the SEAD role. The Sych-M target designator was added to steer the Kh-58U anti-radiation missiles to their targets, as well as the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR to warn it about incoming threats.

The Siren-1D-Ozh and Lyultk jammers were added as suspended options for self defense, and speaking of self defense, the MiG-25BM was capable of utilizing R-60M air-to-air dogfight missiles under the outer pylons.

The MiG-25BM’s principle armament consisted of 4 x Kh-58U anti-radiation missiles with the AKU-58 ejector racks, moreover provisions for free-fall bombs were retained.

In addition, the R-15B-300 could be subsituted for the more fuel-efficient and slightly more powerful Tumansky RB-15BF2-300.

The MiG-25BM prototype (“Red-403”) made its first flight in 1977, and entered production between 1982 and 1985. Only 40 were built. There had also been the MiG-25B model for the same role, but abandoned in favor of the MiG-25BM since it had the Yaguar system.

Game Equivalent: None, currently no SEAD aircraft

Pros:

  • Very fast in level flight
  • High acceleration
  • High climb rate
  • Good roll rate
  • Equipped with self protection (SPS-141 pods)
  • Retained free fall bombs
  • Fitted with the SPO-15L Beryoza RWR
  • Kh-58U ARMs for SEAD
  • R-60M air-to-air missiles added

Cons:

  • Almost defenseless against enemy fighters
  • No gun
  • No chaff/flare dispensers
  • No radar
  • No IRST

1GezitM.png


A New Era Unfolds

OgcAn8y.png

(Ye-155MP izdeliye 518-22 project model)

Almost as soon as the MiG-25P was inducted into service, the Soviets were already looking forward to modernizing it. The reason is because the MiG-25 proved to be troublesome at engaging targets between low and medium altitudes, in addition to being plagued with unsatisfying maneuvering capabilities, as well as looking forward to making use of the upcoming RP-31 Zaslon fire-control radar, new missiles and the Solovyev D30F-6 turbojets.

In the late 60s and early 70s, OKB-155 already began researching an improvement on the basis of the Foxbat with the upcoming up-to-date avionics and new missiles. The K-100 missiles at first were hoped for, but in the end the K-33s won.

The first vision of the new jet was formed as a swing-wing / variable-geometry winged supersonic interceptor, with the previously talked about avionics and weaponry. It was thought to be a cross between the MiG-23 and MiG-25, making use of the different wing configurations to adapt to different flight conditions. However, unlike the MiG-23, the Ye-155MP was not intended for dogfighting, and the variable-wing design increases the weight of the model and its complexity, so it was deemed unnecessary.

YRzuJsj.png

There was also a proposed version with wings bearing some resemblance to the MiG-29’s, which was first proposed in mid-1968 called the Ye-155MP izdeliye 518-55.

pr8GYt0.png

However, in the end, a Ye-155MP design with close resemblance to the MiG-25 was chosen as the basis of the upcoming, real Ye-155MP, soon turning into the MiG-31.

2499jKe.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-155MP izdeliye 83 - Evolving into the Hound

P7brml7.png

Mikoyan OKB officially embarked on the development of the Ye-155MP prototype in 1972, which for some reason had an in-house designation with a number smaller in value than the MiG-25PD’s “izdeliye 84”. The Ye-155MP actually had a lower top speed than the MiG-25, but nonetheless development on it never stopped.

The Ye-155MP was designed around two Solovyov D-30F afterburning turbofans, which were considerably reworked commercial D-30s used on the Tu-134. It was put through its paces on the two izdeliye 99 engine testbeds - modified MiG-25s coded ‘991 Blue’ (izdeliye 99 No.1 , c/n 990001) and ‘992 Blue’ (c/n 990002).

Anyways, the new aircraft was also expected to utilize the no short of impressive Zaslon fire and control phased array radar, which was supposed to outperform all existing airborne radar systems on a global scale. In order to manage all the new aircraft systems, a second seat was added in similar fashion as to how the Jester of the F-14 operated.

Desktop+Screenshot+2021.05.09+-+00.20.22

(Rare photograph of the Ye-155MP in flight, 1975)

Two prototype examples were ordered, and produced at the No.155 plant in Moscow. The first prototype did not have the radar, some other equipment and the cannon. It also had the stock MiG-25RB wing, but later the LERXes and intended wing modifications were installed. The maiden flight was made on the 16th of September, 1975, under the hands of Alexander Fedotov, the renowned hero of the Soviet Air Force. The first two production MiG-31s rolled out of the Gorkiy No.21 plant, first under the designation of MiG-25MP, but as production officially commenced the designation was switched to MiG-31.

For more information on the Ye-155MP’s development please click on this .

XSOeJDx.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31 izdeliye 01 - The Hound Realized

naTpF0u.png

Official production of the MiG-31 commenced at the Gorkiy No.21 plant, which rolled out Batch 1: two production MiG-31s. Batch 2 rolled out three, while Batch 3 rolled out five.

The MiG-31 featured an all new avionics suite, comprising mainly of the RP-31 Zaslon-A phased array radar with twice the range of previous Sapfir RP-25M. As a phased array radar, it proved spectacular in performance, since it was completely immune to ground clutter. Furthermore, it was also capable of tracking ten targets at once and engaging four, all this in 1977! Undoubtedly, this is one of the features of the MiG-31 that made it the dominant interceptor of the PVO at that time.

Aerial targets can be detected at a range of 120-130 km. Maximum tracking range for a medium bomber-sized target is 200 km (124 miles) in head-on mode and 120 km in pursuit mode; maximum tracking range for a fighter type target with a minimum RCS of about 2 m’ is 90 km and 70 km respectively. The WCS is built around a phased-array fire control radar with field of view of ± 70° ( ± 120° in certain modes) in azimuth and + 70°/-60° in elevation.

The RP-31 radar worked perfectly with the new BVR R-33 air-to-air missiles. These are active radar-homing, large lock-on-after-launch weapons which use intertial guidance in the initial stage of flight to extend range (with mid-course correction provided by the launch platform). They are c apable of ranges up to 120 km and developed to replace the older R-40RDs. Tests of this missile were conducted between 1975 and 1980, and in 1981 it was adopted for service. In addition, it retained the heavy 55 kg warhead of the R-40RD.

The maximum pylon launch limit of the R-33 was 8G, however it was recommended to not fire at targets pulling more than 4G.

The MiG-31’s Solovyov D30F-6 turbofans had much more thrust than the R-15B-300s; 15,349 kgf vs 11,200 kgf on afterburner (!). However, the MiG-31 was considerably heavier than the MiG-25.

Now, it wasn’t just the radar and new missiles which made the MiG-31 considerably better than the MiG-25. Thanks to the new wing design, not only was the overload limited increased from 4.5G to 5G, the MiG-31’s maximum top speed at sea level reached 1,450 km/h! This is a big improvement over the 1,300 km/h limit imposed on the MiG-25. The service ceiling was 20,600 m.

Furthermore, it incorporated the modern 8TP infrared search and track (IRST) system, the better SPO-15LM Beryoza RWR and UV-3A chaff/flare dispensers with APP-50 cartridges. However, how often the Russians practice(d) the installation of those dispensers is likely low, leading to doubt whether it’s even valid to begin with.

Unlike the MiG-25, it was also fitted with a built-in gun. The cannon was a GSh-6-23M six-barreled rotary gun with 260 rounds. The GSh-6-23M could be fired at 6,000 RPM, but with tweaking it was capable of 8,000 RPM.

In addition, it retained the R-60M air-to-air missiles, and the R-40TD and R-40RD AAMs. The catch is that the MiG-31 had eight pylons and a gun though! The best loadout for this first production variant was 4 x R-60M + 4 x R-33.

A version called MiG-31 izdeliye 01DZ was also developed with in-flight refueling.

Game Equivalent: F-14A/B

Pros:

  • New R-33 ARH missiles with 100+ km of range, fitted in two pairs (four missiles)
  • Retained the R-60M, R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • Highly powerful RP-31 Zaslon phased-array radar, a max range of 200 km, capable of tracking 10 targets and engaging 4 simultaneously
  • Chaff/flare dispensers unlike the MiG-25 (UV-3A)
  • Newer RWR; SPO-15LM Beryoza
  • Impressive top speed of 1,450 km/h at sea level
  • Faster than the MiG-25 at high altitude (3,000 km/h+, thanks to the reinforced structure of the aircraft, wings and new engines)
  • G limit increased from 4.5G to 5G
  • 8TP IRST

Cons:

  • Despite the G limit increase, 5G is still too low, unmaneuverable
  • Big target to shoot at
  • The R-33 missiles were ineffective at targets pulling more than 4G
  • R-60Ms were limited aspect only; in an engagement with an F-14 it’s a disadvantage when it has AIM-9Ms
  • Limited ammo count (260 rounds only and the cannon fires at 6,000 - 8,000 RPM)
  • The dispensers only had 18 cartridges in total

Yz9AiJM.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31B izdeliye 01B / izdeliye 12 - Issued Modifications

UsSU7SO.png

Work began on a radically improved MiG-31 called the MiG-31M, however its complexity meant that it would take some time to begin testing. Additionally, a sizable list of recommendations and improvements existed for the MiG-31.

These recommendations were combined with a number of new features developed by the Mikoyan OKB and the Gor’kiy aircraft factory in the 1980s to form an upgrade package turning the basic MiG-31 sans suffixe into a new version designated MiG-31B.

The new version was equipped with more capable R-33S missiles; featuring a range of 160 km, an improvement by 40 km over the previous version, as well as increasing the target G limit from 4G to 8G; and according to some sources, it is also distinguished from the older model by an ARH seeker.

Additionally, a more reliable RP-31A Zaslon was fitted, alongisde more capable navigation systems such as the A-732, better ECM systems and the IFR (in-flight refueling) option of the MiG-31 izdeliye 01DZ. The control system as also updated.

The MiG-31B (izdeliye 01B) superseded the MiG-31 (izde/iye 01 DZ), to which it was outwardly all but identical, on the production line in 1990. It’s an upgrade package for the MiG-31; retaining everything in addition to the new changes.

Game Equivalent: F-14A/B

Pros:

  • R-33 replaced with the R-33S with more range and higher maneuverability
  • Retained the R-60M, R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • RP-31 Zaslon replaced with an even more reliable RP-31A radar
  • Chaff/flare dispensers unlike the MiG-25 (UV-3A)
  • Newer RWR; SPO-15LM Beryoza
  • Impressive top speed of 1,450 km/h at sea level
  • Faster than the MiG-25 at high altitude (3,000 km/h+, thanks to the reinforced structure of the aircraft, wings and new engines)
  • G limit increased from 4.5G to 5G
  • 8TP IRST
  • New navigation systems
  • In-flight refueling added

Cons:

  • Despite the G limit increase, 5G is still too low, unmaneuverable
  • Big target to shoot at
  • The R-33 missiles were ineffective at targets pulling more than 4G
  • R-60Ms were limited aspect only; in an engagement with an F-14 it’s a disadvantage when it has AIM-9Ms
  • Limited ammo count (260 rounds only and the cannon fires at 6,000 - 8,000 RPM)
  • The dispensers only had 18 cartridges in total

ItEbvph.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31BS izdeliye 01BS - Humble Change

O4e9hvV.png

A very simple variant with not much to talk about.

The MiG-31BS is the exact same as the MiG-31B, but lacked the IFR capability, hence the absence of the fuel probe.

Game Equivalent: F-14A/B

Pros:

  • R-33 replaced with the R-33S with more range and higher maneuverability
  • Retained the R-60M, R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • RP-31 Zaslon replaced with an even more reliable RP-31A radar
  • Chaff/flare dispensers unlike the MiG-25 (UV-3A)
  • Newer RWR; SPO-15LM Beryoza
  • Impressive top speed of 1,450 km/h at sea level
  • Faster than the MiG-25 at high altitude (3,000 km/h+, thanks to the reinforced structure of the aircraft, wings and new engines)
  • G limit increased from 4.5G to 5G
  • 8TP IRST
  • New navigation systems

Cons:

  • Despite the G limit increase, 5G is still too low, unmaneuverable
  • Big target to shoot at
  • The R-33 missiles were ineffective at targets pulling more than 4G
  • R-60Ms were limited aspect only; in an engagement with an F-14 it’s a disadvantage when it has AIM-9Ms
  • Limited ammo count (260 rounds only and the cannon fires at 6,000 - 8,000 RPM)
  • The dispensers only had 18 cartridges in total
  • IFR fuel probe removed

OHhzjhw.png


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31E izdeliye 01E - Beyond the Motherland

c94dFeU.jpg

On the basis of the MiG-31B, in 1987 an export version was envisioned, though it never happened. Not much is known about it, other than it would have had altered ECM and IFF systems.

Game Equivalent: None, out of bounds currently (F-14A/B, F-15C, F-16 when added)

Pros:

  • R-33 replaced with the R-33S with more range and higher maneuverability
  • Retained the R-60M, R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • RP-31 Zaslon replaced with an even more reliable RP-31A radar
  • Chaff/flare dispensers unlike the MiG-25 (UV-3A)
  • Newer RWR; SPO-15LM Beryoza
  • Impressive top speed of 1,450 km/h at sea level
  • Faster than the MiG-25 at high altitude (3,000 km/h+, thanks to the reinforced structure of the aircraft, wings and new engines)
  • G limit increased from 4.5G to 5G
  • 8TP IRST
  • New navigation systems

Cons:

  • Despite the G limit increase, 5G is still too low, unmaneuverable
  • Big target to shoot at
  • The R-33 missiles were ineffective at targets pulling more than 4G
  • R-60Ms were limited aspect only; in an engagement with an F-14 it’s a disadvantage when it has AIM-9Ms
  • Limited ammo count (260 rounds only and the cannon fires at 6,000 - 8,000 RPM)
  • The dispensers only had 18 cartridges in total
  • IFR fuel probe removed

l1edXG7.jpg

(MiG-31B, the basis of the MiG-31E)


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31M izdeliye 05 - Experimental Advancements

tPfcDcl.jpg

Development of the much improved MiG-31M began in 1983, from a joint directive order issued by the Communist Party Central Committee and the Council of Ministers. The document ordered that MiG OKB should develop a new aircraft to utilize the upcoming ultra-long range R-37 missiles being developed by Vympel OKB, as well as the highly maneuverable R-77 missiles, dubbed as the Soviet AMRAAMs. In addition to packing a greater punch, they ordered that it has a more advanced avionics suite.

Surely enough, the RP-31M radar was developed with significantly higher target acquisition range (360 km) to accomodate the use of R-37 missiles, and the kill range was 200 - 230 km. The number of targets tracked simultaneously arose to 24 from 10, and simultaneous firing increased from 4 to 6 targets. Additionally, new ECM and IFR systems were added

At the same time, the R-77 missiles were included; these with a kill range of 100 km (110 km for the R-77-1) and with a target G load at 12G. The maximum maneuverability ranges between 30 - 40G.

The wing pylon count was increased to four. Up to ten missiles could be added: six R-37 recessed under the fuselage and four R-77 air-to-air missiles under the wings. Because the MiG-31M was designed as a long-range only interceptor, the cannon was deleted and the R-60/R-60M missiles were removed from the loadouts list.

A new, more powerful engine was also installed. The Solovyov D30F-6M produced significantly more thrust than the previous version, rated at 16,500 kgf.

A total of nine prototypes were released. However, due to the economic downturn caused by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the unrealistically high ambitions for the R-37’s design, work on the MiG-31M was stopped. It has served as the basis for more advanced versions designated izdeliye 05B and izdeliye 05BM, but so far no publication has been released on them.

Game Equivalent: 4th generation fighter jets

Pros:

  • New highly maneuverable R-77 missiles, dubbed as the Soviet AMRAAMs, with a kill range of 100 km
  • New R-37 ultra long range missiles with a kill range of 230 km
  • Ten missiles in total
  • Retained the R-33, R-33S, R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • New RP-31M radar with 1.5 - 2 times the detection range of the previous version, capable of tracking 24 targets simultaneously instead of 10 and firing at 6 targets instead of 4
  • Chaff/flare dispensers unlike the MiG-25 (UV-3A)
  • SPO-15LM Beryoza RWR
  • Impressive top speed of 1,450 km/h at sea level
  • Faster than the MiG-25 at high altitude (3,000 km/h+, thanks to the reinforced structure of the aircraft, wings and new engines)
  • G limit increased from 4.5G to 5G
  • 8TP IRST
  • New navigation systems
  • Wing pylon count increased from 2 to 4

Cons:

  • Despite the G limit increase, 5G is still too low, unmaneuverable
  • Big target to shoot at
  • The R-33 missiles were ineffective at targets pulling more than 4G
  • R-60/R-60Ms removed
  • The dispensers only had 18 cartridges in total
  • No built-in gun

HbiRvyp.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31BM izdeliye 01BM - The Current Final Form

1BPamkn.jpg

When state funding of military programmes was reduced to a trickle after the break-up of the Soviet Union and purchases of the MiG-31M became impossible, in 1997 the Mikoyan OKB launched a programme to upgrade the MiG-31Bs operated by the Russian Air Force to a new multi-role version designated MiG-31BM. The aircraft was to possess both a much-enhanced counter-air capability and a strike capability.

The main changes included a radar with an extended range to acquire lock on controlled and ballistic aerial targets, to enable target detection of small targets on land and sea, and the weapon systems to integrate the much more advanced Vympel R-77 missile, in addition to the ultra long range R-37. The R-33S was also retained.

Since it was required that the MiG-31 be equipped with strike capabilities, the Kh-25, Kh-29, Kh-31 and Kh-59 air-to-surface missiles were added to the inventory, as well as KAB-500 and KAB-1500 guided bombs. The maximum strike weight was 8 tons.

Large color multi-function displays and mulfi-function keypads were also added to the cockpit. The RP-31M radar received a new receiver and signal processor, which increased the target acquisition range to 320 km and the maximum kill range to 280 km. The upgraded radar was capable of tracking up to 15 targets and guiding missiles to six priority threats at once. The avionics suite featured a MIL-STD-1553B databus. Additionally, a display for TV-guided weaponry was also incorporated.

The MiG-31BM officially entered service in 2008. A more advanced MiG-31BSM was introduced a few years back, but as it is very new, there’s no decent information on it from reliable sources.

Game Equivalent: None, out of bounds currently (4+ generation jet fighters)

Pros:

  • New highly maneuverable R-77 missiles, dubbed as the Soviet AMRAAMs, with a kill range of 100 km
  • New R-37 ultra long range missiles with a kill range of 230 km
  • Ten missiles in total
  • Retained the R-33, R-33S, R-40RD and R-40TD missiles
  • New RP-31M radar with 1.5 - 2 times the detection range of the previous version, capable of tracking 24 targets simultaneously instead of 10 and firing at 6 targets instead of 4
  • Chaff/flare dispensers unlike the MiG-25 (UV-3A)
  • SPO-15LM Beryoza RWR
  • Impressive top speed of 1,450 km/h at sea level
  • Faster than the MiG-25 at high altitude (3,000 km/h+, thanks to the reinforced structure of the aircraft, wings and new engines)
  • G limit increased from 4.5G to 5G
  • 8TP IRST
  • New navigation systems
  • Wing pylon count increased from 2 to 4
  • Retained the built-in gun
  • Kh-25, Kh-29, Kh-31 and Kh-59 AGMs added
  • Guided bombs added

Cons:

  • Despite the G limit increase, 5G is still too low, unmaneuverable
  • Big target to shoot at
  • The R-33 missiles were ineffective at targets pulling more than 4G
  • R-60Ms were limited aspect only; in an engagement with an F-14 it’s a disadvantage when it has AIM-9Ms
  • The dispensers only had 18 cartridges in total

lg9qIsN.jpg


List of variants not included due to being insignificant and some others are projects:

1- MiG-25P with Parol’-2 IFF: A production MiG-25P coded “76 Red” served as a tesbed for the new Parol’-2 IFF with the izdeliye 632-1 interrogator and izdeliye 620-20P transponder. Distinguished by the triangular blade aerials replacing the equally characteristic triple rod aerials of unequal length that had given the aircraft the name “Odd Rods” by NATO.

2- Ye-155P w/ Vikhr WCS: no designation has been given to this one, but an unidentified Ye-155P prototype was tested with the Vikhr search and track radar with a range between 120 and 150 km to utilize the R-44 air-to-air missiles which did not pass the prototype stage.

3- MiG-25PDM (project only): in 1985 after analyzing previous experience, MiG OKB came up with the idea of a massive upgrade program for the MiG-25PD/PDS, the upgrade package comprising of the N019M Topaz Phazotron radars of the MiG-29S and Su-27S. The idea was quickly doomed because it was found that the R-27 missiles would not handle the kinetic heat at the speeds the MiG-25 was designed for.

4- MiG-25RBVDZ & MiG-25RBShDZ: A MiG-25RBV coded “68 Blue” and a MiG-25RBSh coded “34 Red” recon aircraft were tested with the in-flight refueling capability (IFR), much like the MiG-25PDZ prototype derived from the MiG-25PDSG and MiG-25PDSL.

5- MiG-25R IRINT (project only): Unknown MiG-25R that did not proceed the planning stage was supposed to be tested with infra-red reconnaissance equipment.

6- MiG-25MR: some MiG-25Rs converted to specialized weather reconnaissance for all-weather conditions with the SRS-4 SIGINT pack.

7- MiG-25RR: some MiG-25Rs fitted with the Vysota equipment including a FUKA sampling pod for radiation reconnaissance.

8- MiG-25PP ECM (project only): a proposed version of the MiG-25RB intended to provide ECM cover for groups of MiG-25s on recon missions.

9- Ye-155F (project only): during the early stages of the MiG-25 program, a proposed tactical bomber variant was suggested, with a pilot and a navigator (two seats). The USSR favored the Su-24.

10- Ye-155B (project only): after the MiG-25RB proved to be successful, the USSR envisioned a high-altitude high-speed strategic bomber version of it fitted with the Ivolga electro-optical bombing sight capable of detecting small targets in any weather conditions in either during day or night. Didn’t even go past the drawing stages.

11- Ye-155VK (project only): a suborbital satellite interceptor variant was proposed with a new WCS and a new set of missiles capable of engaging satellites from 600 - 700 km. It was also supposed to engage maritime vehicles.

12- Ye-155K: the prototype for the MiG-25BM SEAD aircraft.

13- MiG-25B (project only): a 1977 proposed modification for the MiG-25RB was to include the Espadron avionics and weapons suite comprising of the Sompol SLAR, a new SIGINT set, a thermal imaging system, datalink and anti-radiation missiles.

14- MiG-25 cruise missile testbed

15- MiG-25 with D30F-6: a MiG-25 re-engined to use new Solovyev D30F-6 engines, which went on to be the main powerplants of the MiG-31.

16- MiG-25PD engine testbed: a MiG-25PD with the Saturn AL-41F engines in order to test them, figure out their issues and refine them.

14 Likes

Glad to see this one again, good work 👍

2 Likes

batches of missile of different years of release differed from each other.And if the early ones could hit the target only with 4G, then the late 8G

Yes, the R-33S are advertised to be effective against targets pulling 8G.

1 Like

not only the P-33S, but the usual P-33, only released in different years

000-R-37-Arrow-1S
MiG-31M, BM, BSM? with x10 missile load out, six R-37M?

MiG-31M

How agile was the MiG-25 when kept in its preferred high speed range and ignoring the service G limits? I remember a F-15 pilot talking about MiG-25s actually managing to give him trouble before slipping away when the fight started to turn, and I’ve also got the anecdote about the 13G accidental training maneuver, but I can’t find much besides that.

Are you talking about"Samurra Air Battle"?2v2 of F-15s and Mig-25s?But the huge R-40 missile only damaged one of the engines of an F-15.The trouble wasn’t the Migs, it was the unreliability of the AIM-7s. Five of the eight AIM-7s on the two F-15s could not be launched due to various problems.Such as the missile cannot be guided after it leaves the launcher or the missile simply cannot be separated from the launcher.

I was talking more about how the Foxbats managed to maneuver with and disengage from the F-15s without being downed by sidewinders once the fight had progressed to visual range.

MiG-31M.

1 Like

It could take 11.5G, and on BMS Falcon its turn rate is 12 degrees per second. So it’s a lot more maneuverable than most people misconceive it to be, but it wasn’t deadly either.

At supersonic speeds is when it was best. For reference, we know it could sustain 4G above Mach 2. It seems like in the game it would be like the F-104 in the area of supersonic maneuverability, except better.

2 Likes

I saw an article (relatively non-credible, but still) that made me curious about whether the MiG-31 ever got a helmet mounted sight as it mentioned it. Later MiG-31s carry R-73s so I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility, but I haven’t found anything backing it up besides the fact that I’ve seen that MiG-31 pilot helmets have the mounting bracket for NVGs that doubles as a mount for an HMD system. However that would require some integration with the aircraft. It would certainly help it out in the game but I haven’t found anything conclusive on the matter.

2 Likes

Technically speaking there is no limitation. All the technology, including the IRST, are there. It is only a question of why, since it’s a long-range interceptor designed to cover Russia’s entire airspace using only a few squads through coordination.

There is no reason for it to have HMD, but maybe at this point it’s a standard integration. I think for Gaijin the fact that there is no technical limitation is enough.

1 Like

Well the technical limitation would be integration with the aircraft’s FCS. It’s not just plug and play in the sense that there needs to be a control box installed or something. HMD radar targeting would be… unlikely, to say the least, and I agree that even for R-73s it’s probably not a thing, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility and it would help the plane a lot, so I’m looking for more concrete info. I’d rather assume it doesn’t have it and be pleasantly surprised if it does than the other way around.

JAS39A and JAS39C be like…

As you mentioned the R-73 is part of its standard loadouts selection and given there’s the big possibility that said electronics are now the standard, I would not be surprised if it does have HMD or can install it. Really doubt modern helmets don’t have HMD electronics as standard.

If it helps - nowhere in the Gordon/Komissarov FRA book (edition 2020) does it even mention the facility for HMD. In either IR or Radar modes it is very much a ‘head down’ process for slaving targets using the IRST or radar - usually the rear seater moving things around with ye olde worlde control stick.

The 31M basically upgraded what was already there (BVR/Radar/Processing ability) to something approaching modern standards - plus the ability to integrate newer Russian missiles. Additional features such as HMD were not in the upgrade program.

I say ‘upgrade’ but like most Russian post-cold-war tech that is a relative term. Think 1990s computer speeds rather than 70s - well done VKS…

Make sense when you think about it - after all if you are in a dogfight where HMD is useful - you are probably already dead if you’re tooling around in something as big and clumsy as a MiG-31.

Even as of 2024 they still follow the old PVO doctrines of small numbers of defence fighters under tight ground-control.

You just need to look at cockpit and not to find photodetectors for HMS to understand that plane can’t use HMS.

The MiG-31BM has an upgraded radar and new computers for an upgraded weapon system with R-37M/R-77-1/R-74M missiles…

1 Like