MiG-31 FOXHOUND - Variants
Since the release of the MiG-31 there were also designed numerous modifications of the aircraft:
- MiG-31B - production version of the MiG-31, equipped with flight refueling system; It entered service in 1990.
- MiG-31BS - MiG-31, upgraded to MiG-31B, without boom refueling;
- MiG-31BSM The modernization of the MiG-31BS 2014 without boom refueling .
- MiG-31BM - modernization of 1998, a modern version of the MiG-31 Russian Air Force. It planned through 2020 to upgrade 60 MiG-31, MiG-31BM. The upgraded aircraft will receive a new weapon control system and radar that will detect targets at ranges of up to 320 km and simultaneously track up to ten air targets.
- MiG-31D Experimental modification that can carry anti-satellite missile 79M6 "Contact" . Commercially not produced.
- MiG-31DZ Serial interceptor equipped with a flight refueling system (different from the MiG-31B location refueling boom (the MiG-31DZ rod installed to the left on the flight) and the second cabin equipment).
- MiG-31 And (the product "Ishim") The aircraft is designed to air launch a small spacecraft.
- MiG-31LL A flying laboratory in Zhukovsky .
- MiG-31M Upgraded in 1993 interceptor with enhanced weapons, radar, avionics; I had the characteristic "round out" a form of root burls. Commercially not produced.
- MiG-31F Multipurpose tactical fighter designed also to attack ground targets (project essentially new aircraft).
- MiG-31FE The export version of the aircraft MiG-31BM. Commercially not produced.
- MiG-31E The export version with a simplified avionics. Commercially not produced.
Two specialized MiG-31Ds were built in 1987 as carriers for an antisatellite (ASAT) missile, in imitation of a contemporary US ASAT program that used a McDonnell Douglas F-15. These two Foxhounds featured triangular "webbed feet" wing endplate fins, like those fitted to some MiG-25 prototypes, in this case intended to provide improved flight stability at high altitudes for missile launches. A single large missile was to be carried under the fuselage, and a special upward-looking radar and associated intercept fire-control system was to be fitted to production machines.
The MiG-31S [or MiG-31A] was a commercial small satellite launch variant, with Fakel OKB Micron missile capable of delivering a 100 kg (220 lb) payload into a 200 km (124 mile) orbit or a 70 kg (154 lb) payload into a 500 km (311 mile) orbit. The type could also launch the Aerospace Rally System rocket-powered suborbital glider, for astronaut training upper atmosphere research or space tourism.
The MiG OKB showed off a multirole fighter variant of the MiG-31B at the Paris Air Show in 1995. This machine was designated the "MiG-31F", with "F" standing for "frontovy / front AKA tactical", and was fitted with air-to-surface weapons for the strike or particularly the SEAD role.
The Mig-31M is an improved version of the basic Mig-31. The key to the MiG-31M's effectiveness is the SBI-16 Zaslon fixed phased array antenna radar, codenamed 'Flash Dance' by NATO, which is said to be the world's most powerful fighter radar. The cockpits were upgraded in the Mig 31M with a number of Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) and an increased number of missiles.
The MiG-31E export model provides facilities for vectoring up to three fighters, types MiG-21-93, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-29, Su-27 to ensure a covert attack. A group of four MiG-31E fighter-interceptors is capable of interchanging data in the automatic mode on presence of air targets in the zone up to 800 km wide. MiG-31E fighter-interceptor is designed for interception and destruction of aerial targets flying at altitudes of 50 to 28 000 m in front and rear hemispheres including those on ground clutter, under normal and adverse weather conditions, the target maneuvering and enemy deploying active and passive countermeasures.
Aerial targets can be intercepted by a single MiG-31E aircraft or by a group of up to 4 MiG-31E aircraft. Interception can be performed with the aid of guidance by ground automated control system or autonomously with optimum target distribution among the members of the group. In a group of MiG-31E aircraft information exchange among aircraft of the group is possible about their position and availability of tracked targets. A group of 4 MiG-31E aircraft in formation flight can scan airspace on width of 900-1000 km that is especially important in case of the absence or destruction of the ground air-defence system. Data exchange between MiG-31E and a group of aircraft of other type in the interaction mode has been provided. The aircraft is equipped with IR seeker unit enabling to detect and acquire a target by its heat emission in the passive mode of a blind attack.
During a combat mission a single MiG-31E aircraft can simultaneously track up to 10 targets and attack up to 4 of them having various headings, altitudes and speeds. MiG-31E is equipped with the automatic control system offering automatic control of aircraft flight on assigned route, aircraft homing on targets being attacked by guidance of the aircraft to the area providing optimum position of the interceptor relative to the target being attacked (according to maximum probability of their kill) in attack of several targets.
The first stage of tests of the upgraded MiG-31BM high-speed multifunctional long-range jet fighter were completed in mid-1999. The main difference between the MiG-31P (Foxhound, according to the NATO classification) and the new MiG-31BM multifunctional air strike system is that the latter is capable of destroying both air and ground targets. The designers and manufacturers of the MiG-31 hope that the new modification will result in international sales. The upgraded MiG-31BM is fitted with a powerful onboard computer system and a radar with a phased array which will allow the pilot to simultaneously activate the air-to-air and air-to-surface missile fire modes. When working with air targets, the MiG-31BM is capable of intercepting up to 24 targets simultaneously.
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