The MiG-31 is famous, primarily, for its ability to accelerate to an incredible speed of 3000 kilometers per hour and operate at altitudes of more than 20 kilometers. Because of that, the aircraft was nicknamed Foxhound.
The MiG-31 is unique in all respects and still have no competitors in the world. They will cover Russia’s air borders in the next ten years, after which will be replaced with even more advanced long-range aircraft MiG-41 which will be able to destroy targets already outside the atmosphere, in outer space.
The issue of the resumption of production of the MiG-31 or the development of a new high-altitude interceptor was replaced by it for a long time and was so overripe that in 2013 the Duma heard hearings on this topic. They were the first in the history of the lower house of parliament devoted to the fate of a specific weapon. Parliamentarians called on the government to resume production of the MiG-31 and to extend the life of already flying cars. The deputies then talked a lot about NATO’s expansion to the East, the development of the US missile defense system and some plans of the West “for a large-scale militarization of outer space.” In this difficult situation, in their opinion, only the MiG-31 will be able to close the Russian air borders to a reliable lock.
MiG-31 is really a very interesting aircraft, although it was developed in the early 70’s. Its characteristic rapid silhouette is easy to recognize by the chopped wingtips, the rigid contours of the glider, the huge nozzles and beveled shells of the air intakes of the D-30F-6 engines. Due to their monstrous total thrust, these engines accelerate the 40-ton machine to speeds close to hypersonic. Of the weapons – six-barrel 23-millimeter gun and six points of suspension of a variety of air-to-air missiles. The maximum combat load is nine tons.
As previously reported, the PAK DP will be called the MiG-41 and is developed on the basis of the MiG-31. At the same time, the aircraft will not become a product of the profound modernization of the MiG-31, but will be a completely independent completely new car. The first deliveries to the Air and Space Forces could begin already in the mid-2020s in the event of orders from the Ministry of Defense. PAK DP will be hypersonic itself (claimed speed is 4500 km / h) and will be able to carry hypersonic missiles. The creators plan to “sharpen” it for work in the Arctic zone and eventually, perhaps, “re-qualify” in drone.
As Ilya Tarasenko, General Director of RAC MiG, said earlier on the Zvezda TV channel, the aircraft will have unique combat capabilities, in particular, it will be invisible to the enemy radars and even be able to work in outer space. Some versions of the MiG-31 can already launch small satellites into near-earth orbit.
The main qualities for a high-altitude interceptor are speed and range of action, and not maneuverability, said the Honored Test Pilot of the USSR, Hero of Russia Anatoly Kvochur. According to him, promising “high-altitude” can be used for peaceful purposes, such as, for example, combating space debris in low orbits.
It should also be noted that, apart from eliminating reconnaissance aircraft and enemy bombers, the important tasks of distant high-altitude interceptors remain the search and destruction of ballistic and cruise missiles in the air defense system. Their effectiveness in this they have already proved. In the summer, the MiG-31 successfully shot down a missile flying at an altitude of 12 kilometers at a speed three times the speed of sound.