15 photos of the MiG-31, the Russian fighter jet that can chase away SR-71 Blackbirds

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Two MiG-31s.
source
Russian Ministry of Defense

The CEO of Russia’s Mikoyan aircraft company recently made some wild claims about the MiG-41 – the successor to the MiG-31 – saying it would fly in space, reach speeds of 2,800 mph, carry lasers, and more.

Despite these predictions, the MiG-41, if it’s made, would not be ready for deployment until between 2035 and 2040, which means the MiG-31 will be Russia’s main interceptor well into the 2030s.

And while these predictions are rather fanciful, they’re not impossible, given the MiG-31’s impressive capabilities.

Take a look at what the MiG-31 can do.


The MiG-31, which NATO calls Foxhound, made its first flight in 1975 and succeeded the MiG-25.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: GlobalSecurity.org


As an interceptor, the Foxhound was not made for dogfights but for defending Russia’s borders from enemy bombers, able to swoop in quickly and hit targets before jetting out.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Sources: GlobalSecurity.org, The National Interest


Unlike the MiG-25, it has a back seat for the weapons systems officer to operate the Zaslon radar.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

The Zaslon S-800 Passive Electronically Scanned Array radar was made to track low-flying bombers. It originally had a range of 125 miles, which Russia has since upgraded multiple times.

Source: The National Interest


The MiG-31 needs about 3,900 feet to take off.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: GlobalSecurity.org


It has two Tumanski R-15BD-300 turbojets, which can bring the Foxhound to nearly 34,000 feet in eight minutes.

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Here’s a shot of the engine’s afterburners in action.
source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: GlobalSecurity.org


The MiG-31BM, the newest MiG-31 variant, features a Zaslon-M radar. It has a range of nearly 200 miles, longer-range air-to-air missiles like the R-33S, and more.

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The MiG-31BM.
source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: GlobalSecurity.org


The MiG-31 can also reach 65,000 feet in nearly nine minutes and even hit altitudes of 67,500 feet.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

The second layer of the atmosphere, the stratosphere, starts at 59,000 feet.

Source: GlobalSecurity.org


It has a top speed of Mach 3 and can hit Mach 1.23 at low altitudes.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: The National Interest


This is why it has been dubbed a “Mach 3 monster.”

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: The National Interest


There have been multiple accounts of MiG-31 fighters chasing away SR-71s, the legendary high-altitude US spy plane.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

A Russian pilot claimed he was able to lock his missiles onto an SR-71 during one incident. And according to a report, six Foxhounds cornered a Blackbird in another.

Sources: The National Interest, The Aviationist


The Foxhound’s main armament is the R-33 long-range missile, similar to the F-14’s AIM-51 Phoenix missile, and it can lock onto four targets at once.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

It can hold four of the R-33 long-range missiles, two R-40TD-1 medium-range missiles, and four R-60MK short-range missiles. It also has a 9-A-768 23mm gun.

Source: The National Interest, GlobalSecurity.org


The Mig-31DZ, a variant released in 1989, was the first MiG-31 able to refuel in midair.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: The National Interest


The Foxhound needs about 2,600 feet to land.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: GlobalSecurity.org


Moscow has about 252 MiG-31s and plans to make 100 MiG-31BMs and MiG-31BSMs by 2020.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: The National Interest


And while Mikoyan has plans for a MiG-31 successor, the MiG-41, the Foxhound will continue flying until at least 2030.

source
Russian Ministry of Defense

Source: The National Interest