MiG-31 FOXHOUND - Program
Work on the creation of the fighter-interceptor MiG-31 began in OKB Mikoyan and Gurevich in 1968. The base for the MiG-31 was the earlier fighter-interceptor MiG-25, however, the new aircraft has been significantly reworked. The first Mig-31 flew in 1975. On April 22, 1976 began testing the MiG-31. The first phase was completed in December 1978. The second phase started in September 1979 and ended in September 1980. The Decree of the USSR Council of Ministers on 6 May 1981 fighter-interceptor MiG-31 with radar RP-31 and R-33 missiles was adopted.
Production of the first models of the MiG-31 began in 1980. The first series consisted of only two planes, the second - of the three, the third - six. All these aircraft intended for the flight test. New interceptors began to arrive at the air defense weapons in 1983.
By 1987 over 150 FOXHOUNDs were operationally deployed at several locations from the Arkhangelsk area in the northwestern USSR to the Soviet Far East. The FOXHOUND is dedicated to the homeland air defense mission.
In 1992 the Chinese reached agreement with the Russian Federation to buy 24 MiG-31 Foxhound long-range interceptors. The MiG-31s were expected to be assembled at a newly set-up factory in Shenyang, with production at a rate of four per month expected by 2000. The last aircraft was to be delivered by the year 2000. According to some reports the agreement included a license to build as many as 700 aircraft, and some projection envisioned that at least 200 would actually be deployed by the year 2010. None of this had happened as of 2016
MiG-31 production ended in 1994. By the end of 1994, more than 500 MiG-31 and MiG-31B were built. At the moment, made modernization the armament of aircraft to the version of the MiG-31BM, the first two entered the force in 2008.
As of 2012 in the Russian Air Force in service cost 252 MiG-31, of which about 190 combat-ready machines. It is known that 60 MiG-31 will be upgraded to version BM in composition will also remain, 30-40 MiG-31 in versions RS and the BS. The rest of the MiG-31 will be scrapped. Just about 30 MiG-31 in service with Kazakhstan.
In 2013 Parliamentary research revealed that “quite a few” stored MiG-31s (from an original production run of 500) can be restored to flying condition, while new production could be restarted at Sokol at a cost of Rouble 25 billion ($800 million). No new MiG-31s had been produced in the 10 years up to 2013, but several partially built airframes were completed for Kazakhstan. Eight more were destined for Syria but remain incomplete after cancelation of the order.
Russia’s MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors will stay in service until “at least 2028” or possibly five or 10 years more, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said 30 August 2013. “We are satisfied with this aircraft; it performs its functions wonderfully,” the general said, adding that as next-generation long-range missiles and aircraft are developed, interception functions could be assigned to newer warplanes as well.
Bondarev’s remarks seem to be a little bit at odds with his comments in April, when he said the Air Force hoped to receive a new long-range fighter-interceptor by 2020 and retire its existing fleet of MiG-31s by 2028. He also spoke out against restarting production of the MiG-31, which was discontinued two decades ago, saying the country needed a totally new interceptor to meet modern requirements. The Russian Air Force had 122 MiG-31 interceptors in service and more aircraft in reserve, the general said at the time.
The Russian armed forces will receive more than 50 modernized MiG-31 fighter interceptors by the end of 2018, TASS reported 27 November 2014, citing the Defense Ministry. The modernization would be carried out by the United Aircraft Corporation. The previous such contract was concluded between the ministry and the Sokol aircraft plant in 2011. Under that deal, the Air Force would receive more than 50 modernized MiG-31BMs by 2019.
The fighter-interceptor MiG-31 can expect changes and new life that can last for fifteen years, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said 08 August 2014. He visited the enterprises of the military-industrial complex in Nizhny Novgorod, including in the aircraft building plant "Sokol", which created these aircraft until 1992. "Right now, the aircraft being upgraded, and it is here, in Nizhny Novgorod, on the aircraft plant" Sokol "And the plane will, I'll tell you exactly fifteen years in many different and new options that meet modern forms of warfare."
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