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

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

Two MiG-31s. play

Two MiG-31s.

(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.

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

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

(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.

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. play

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.

(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.

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

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

(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.

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

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

(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.

Here's a shot of the engine's afterburners in action. play

Here's a shot of the engine's afterburners in action.

(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.

The MiG-31BM. play

The MiG-31BM.

(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.

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

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

(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.

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

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

(Russian Ministry of Defense)

Source: The National Interest



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

2. That its future MiG-41 will be able to fly in space. play

2. That its future MiG-41 will be able to fly in space.

(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.

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

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

(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.

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. play

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.

(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.

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

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

(Russian Ministry of Defense)

Source: The National Interest



The Foxhound needs about 2,600 feet to land.

The Foxhound needs about 2,600 feet to land. play

The Foxhound needs about 2,600 feet to land.

(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.

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

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

(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.

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

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

(Russian Ministry of Defense)

Source: The National Interest



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