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Fighter Aircraft

MIG - 31

NATO Codename "Foxhound"

Crew 2
Entered service in 1979
Dimensions and weight 
Length 22.7 m
Wing span 13.5 m
Height  6.2 m
Weight (normal) 21.45 t
Maximum take off weight 41 - 46 t
Engines 2 x DTRD D-30F6
Traction 2 x 15 500 kg
Altitude 22.8 km
Maximum speed 3 000 km/h
Flying range 2 500 - 3 000 km
Aviation gun 23-mm 6 barrel rotary gun GSh-23-6 (9A-768)
Missiles 6 x "air-to-air" guided missiles R-27, R-30, R-33, R-40T, R-40TD, R-60M.

    High altitude fighter interceptor aircraft MIG-31 made it's first flight in 16-th of September 1975. It was intended to counteract against strategic reconnaissance aircrafts SR-71 "Blackbird's", strategic bombers B-1B and long-range cruise missiles. The MiG-31 "Foxhound" was first time exhibited in 1991 at Paris Air show. After Lockheed SR-71 retirement MIG-31 became fastest serial production aircraft.

Fighter was based on well recommended air superiority fighter MIG-25. MIG-31 "Foxhound" is made from aluminum alloys with work temperature in +150 C. Fuselages high kinetic heating zones are made from titan and stainless steel.

The landing gear was substantially modified. Front chassis has two wheels with mudguard. Main chassis legs has tandem arranged wheels placed parallel to fuselage. Such chassis remarkably decreases ground pressure and allow to use fighters on ground and arctic airfields. The airbrakes were fitted in a new position, between the main landing gear and the air intakes. It might be speared even in supersonic flight.  

The engines are Soloviev's D-30F-6 two-shaft bypass high-economy turbojet engines. It's development began in 1972 in Perm city by a team led by Soloviev himself and since 1989 by Yuri Reshetnikov. Development was finally completed in 1980. The engine is manufactured at Perm's "Motorstroitel" works, and seems to be used Ilyushin's IL- 62M and Tupolev's Tu-154M. One unique feature of the D-30F6 is the use of small suction relief doors on the moving parts of the engine nozzles to eliminate pulsing in the exhaust gases. The engine consists of seven modules, six of them replaceable. The first is an inlet guide vane module, with the others being the five-stage low pressure compressor, the mixer case, the afterburner, the exhaust nozzle, front and rear gearboxes, and a base module with the 10-stage high pressure compressor and combustion chamber, first stage nozzle vanes, high and low pressure turbines (both two stage) and rear bearing. The engine has a mass flow of 150 kg per second and an inlet diameter of 102 cm. The D-30F6 features an integral heat exchanger using fan bypass air to cool air drawn from the compressor which in turn cools the high- and low-pressure turbines. A turbine overspend protection system is fitted, along with an exhaust temperature limiter. Full authority digital engine controls are fitted, with a data recording system. The new engine was specified for the MiG-31 in order to improve range, since this was the key performance parameter for which an improvement over the MiG-25 was demanded. The new engine necessitated some structural modifications, and the opportunity was taken to increase internal fuel capacity to 19 700 l (some estimates suggest 20 380 l). This, together with the lower specific fuel consumption of the D-30F, raised supersonic range to 2 135 km on internal fuel, or to 3 310 km at subsonic speeds. Increased weight reduced operational ceiling to 22 800 m. A semi-retractable refueling probe was fitted on the left side of the nose. MIG-31 can be refueled from tanker aircrafts IL-78 or SU-24T.

MIG-31 was equipped with unique "Zaslon" (NATO codename "Flash Dance") radiolocation phased array radar with kvaziunremiting irradiation for long-range interception tasks which is reportedly capable of tracking ten targets and attacking four simultaneously. This is said to be the world's most powerful fighter radar, with a higher output in kilowatts than any other radar. Radar allows to notice small size ground targets. It's range in acquisition-pursuit in lookdown is 150-200 km in the forward sector and 70-90 for the rear sector.

Ability to interchange information allows to use MIG-31 for long-range radiolocation reconnaissance, pointing to targets aircrafts such as SU-27, MIG-29. MIG-31 is almost the only fighter capable to destroy low flying cruise missiles. Advanced radio technical equipment required to involve navigator-radar oficer as additional crew member to control air territory and work-out group target interception tactics. Pilot's cockpit is fitted with color front glass indicator which doesn't have serious analogues. Navigation equipment contains radio navigational systems "Tropik" and "Marshrut".

Biggest combat effectiveness is reached using unit from four MIG-31 connected by automatic data changing devise. Digital internal communication system APD-518 provides informational interchanging in 200 km range. Such combat usage of four MIG's-31 allows to control about 1 000 km length air territory. Targets can be transferred rapidly from one aircraft to another, with all aircraft sharing the same image on their tactical situation displays.

Fighter had weapons system, which was probably the most effective ever fitted to a Soviet fighter aircraft.

Fixed armament was confirmed to be a single 23 mm six-barrel GSh-23 rotary cannon with 260 rounds in a bulged housing behind the starboard main undercarriage. The aircraft has a fully-loaded take-off weight of 41 000 - 46 000 kg and a ferry range of 2 500 - 3 000 km.

Nowadays there are no MIG-31 analogs. In 1992 appeared new version of fighter interceptor MIG-31M. New aircraft has significant changes first of all in board radio location set and increased armament. Now it carries 8 missiles in stead of 6 carried by MIG-31.  

Russian Federation Air Defense System has more than 200 air superiority fighters MIG-31. 24 aircrafts MIG-31 were exported to China.

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