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Russia to Develop MiG-31 Replacement Starting In 2017

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MiG-31 Fighters

A pair of Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound

Russia is hoping to start developing a replacement for the Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor starting in 2017 according to state media outlet RIA Novosti.

“From 2017 we will start working on a new long-range interceptor to replace MiG-31,” Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev, commander of the Russian Air Force, told RIA Novosti.

Russia hopes that the new interceptor will enter service in 2025. Bondarev had said in 2013 that the Russian air force was hoping to induct a MiG-31 replacement by 2020. Russia still has at least 122 MiG-31s, which it is expecting to retire by 2028.

Last year, Bondarev told RIA Novosti that the Russian Air Force is hoping to receive a new long-range fighter-interceptor by 2020.

The Foxhound was originally developed from the Mach 3-capable MiG-25 Foxbat. Unlike the MiG-25, the Foxhound is capable of supersonic flights at low-altitude and mounts the world’s first fighter-mounted phased-array radar called the N007 Zaslon. Like its Foxbat progenitor, the MiG-31 is extremely fast—it is capable of sustained flight at speeds of Mach 2.83.

The jet is primarily armed with the Vympel R-33 long-range air-to-air missile though upgraded aircraft can be armed with the R-77 and new R-37 missiles. The aircraft first entered service with the Voyska PVO (Soviet Air Defense Forces) in 1982. The last MiG-31 rolled off the production line in 1994—a casualty of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia is already developing a fifth-generation replacement for its Su-27 Flanker-derivative fleet called the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. Potentially, Russia could leverage the PAK-FA’s technology to develop a Foxhound replacement, but the Russian timeline to develop a MiG-31 replacement is optimistic at best.

Indeed, according to RIA Novosti, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin suggested on Aug. 8 that Russia simply reopen the MiG-31 productions line. Rogozin noted that the Foxhound has no direct Western analogue. In many respects, the MiG-31 design stems directly from Russia’s unique requirements to defend its immense landmass.

  • Bobby Wheeler

    Diddnt the navy (or its venders) develope the f-18 (fA-18) to counter the mig 31? So where do we go from here and how does the new f-35 stand up to this?

    • El_KaBong

      No they did not.

      The MiG-31 is a single role interceptor. Not difficult to deal with at BVR and even easier WVR.

    • Secundius

      @ Bobby Wheeler.

      The F/A-18B/C Hornet, replaced the A-7E Corsair and A-6E Intruder. and the F/AE/F Super Hornet/Rhino, replaced the F-14D Tomcat and possible A-14D Bobcat-variant.

    • Sony

      F35…? It does not standup against it at all as the F-35 is a very broad multi-role aircraft and as such can’t really fight in close quarters or isn’t fast enough to catch interceptors (1,930km/h top speed) and it cannot fly high altitude. It’s kind of a “jack of all trades but master of none”

      The MiG-31 is designed to do only one thing – fly high and fast (3,000km/h top speed), can fly at much higher altitude and has a much longer range.

      • Ctrot

        The F-35 has a service ceiling of 50,000 – 60,000 feet (depending on sources) which is at least as high as the aircraft it is to replace (F-16, F-18).

        Vs the MiG-31 I would prefer the F-35 any day. The MiG is huge, the F-35 would detect it and launch missiles against it well before the MiG had any idea the F-35 was there.

        • Sutzuk ibn Loukoum

          If things go that awry the Foxhound still has enough of a kinetic advantage to run out of the no escape zone of an F-35 launched AMRAAM.

          • Ctrot

            Only if he realizes he has been fired upon in time, which isn’t likely.

          • Secundius

            @ Sutzuk ibn Loukoum.

            The problem with the MiG-31 Foxhound, is the same problem the B-29 Superfortress had in WW2. Its ENGINES, There GREAT when they work, NOT SO GREAT when they don’t!!!

    • Karl Pershing

      The F-35 is such a failure that it is only used for entertainment at airshows around the country. And people really believe it can replace the A-10. Unbelievable.

      • Bobby Wheeler

        For any or perhaps all faults…. the naval version is set to be deployed. Its a fine looking plane… but i hope they dont all catch fire.

        • Karl Pershing

          Exactly. So do I.

        • Secundius

          @ Bobby Wheeler.

          All pre-operational aircrafts are going to have “teething problems”, an I pretty sure the Russian’s are going to more than their fair share of them. Unless they go back to the old Soviet System, and the problems correct themselves, while under the Operational Phase of deployment. Where a lot of their young pilots are going to die, working out the BUGS. You know, “Learn As You Go”.

      • Secundius

        @ Karl Pershing.

        How can you judge something a failure, if it not tried and allow too fail. Isn’t that like putting the “Cart Before the Horse”.

        • Karl Pershing

          Well, the test documents show poor performance relative to the planes it is designed to replace. At least this is how the top brass feels. I hope when it comes into service, it does well because we spent a lot of money on the program.

  • Secundius

    I wonder what nation, order the new model. Because I doubt its going into Russian Air Force inventory.

    • Gregory Dittman

      Most countries that buy arms from other countries are too small for interceptors. By the time it leaves the runway and hits full throttle it could be two countries away from its home.

      • Secundius

        @ Gregory Dittman.

        Yeah, and with a Vmo, of Mach 2.83. That’s not going to be very hard too do.

  • Secundius

    @ Bobby Wheeler.

    The production date for the F/A-18E Super Hornet/Rhino, is 1995. While the production date of the MiG-31, is 2017. Why build a Counter-Threat”, 22-years before the Threat. That’s like using a Korean War-era, F-86 Saber against a 1st Gulf War, Supersonic Fighter. The Saber, would be totally outclassed, in every possibly way.

    • Bobby Wheeler

      Yah , im no good at remembering details like that. I know the f-18 was intended to out turn the then currant mig….. at loss of range.

  • Rubber Ducky

    Let’s send them the plans for the F-35. It’ll set them back a couple decades…

    • Karl Pershing

      The F-35 will be deemed inferior by the US government and given away for free to Israel. It is good enough to kill women and children in small countries full of sand. Why do you think we have so many people in congress who are dual Israeli and American citizens? For days like these!

  • Samuel

    Even a Mig -19 would make chopped sewage out of the F-35.

    • Secundius

      @ Samuel.

      It has nothing to do with the aircraft, It’s all about pilot training. And experienced pilot in a older plane, is going to have a distinct advantage over an inexperienced pilot in a newer plane.

    • Secundius

      @ Samuel.

      Funny, that’s probably what going through the mind of the North Vietnamese pilot mind of his Mig-19.. Just, before he got shot down both two post-WW2 era Douglass A-1D Skyraider’s.

      • Sutzuk ibn Loukoum

        Guess the same feeling as the F-4 American pilots being hopelessly gunned down by Vietnamese MiG-17 because American command was too hasty to declare dogfights obsolete (the main reason the slow and antiquated yet agile and gun-equipped A-1Ds started being used for air combat).

        • Secundius

          @ Sutzuk ibn Loukoum.

          I heard it as two Douglass A-1D Skyraider, a “Thatch Weave Maneuver” and one MiG-19. My Bad!!!

    • Ctrot

      I would say don’t be stupid but I suspect you have no choice.

    • Secundius

      @ Samuel.

      The only way that going happen is it sitting out in plan sight, on the ground, not powered up, unpiloted and all the air-defense systems of the base de-activated!!!