Four high-altitude MiG-31BMs can control space, Russia received two

MOSCOW ($1=62.50 Russian Rubles) — Russian media reports that two modernized high-altitude fighter interceptors have entered service with the Russian Air and Space Forces [VKS]. These are MiG-31BMs, which are already deployed in an aviation regiment in the Central Military District.

MiG-31K with installed Kinzhal hypersonic missile lands in Kaliningrad
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The high-altitude interceptors have flown over 4,000 kilometers from the modernization site to their final deployment base. According to Russian sources, the modernization was mainly aimed at the electronic systems and avionics of combat aircraft. There is talk of new technical components, navigation equipment, and nodes, as well as improving technical characteristics.

Experts say that compared to the MiG-31, the MiG-31BM already has double the effectiveness. According to Russian experts, a group of four MiG-31BM interceptors can control space, the length of which along the front is 800-900 km.

More flight hours

The modernization of the MiG-31BM begins in 2020. The main goal of the Russian Ministry of Defense is to increase the flight hours of aircraft. The MiG-31 currently has an upper allowable limit of 2,500 flight hours. The MiG-31BM should increase its air presence to 3,500 flight hours.

Russia actively uses the MiG-31 in the war with Ukraine. A RUSI report named the aircraft as the most effective in the war. The ability to fly at high altitudes and work in pairs with a fighter almost always guarantees success. The effectiveness is also evident in the number of downed MiG-31s in Ukraine. There are only two destroyed, with one shot down and the second being part of the destroyed aircraft at Saki Air Base in Crimea.

MiG-31 plus Kinzhal

The best configuration since the beginning of the war is the MiG-31 armed with the Kinzhal [Dagger in English] air-to-surface missile. Russia has on several occasions used a similar configuration when carrying out missile strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructures. Most recently, Moscow deployed two Dagger-armed MiG-31s to Belarus. According to Western experts, the MiG-31 could hit any European military base if it took off from Belarus and launched the Dagger.

Russia is testing a remote control of the supersonic MiG-31 interceptor
Photo credit: Mil.ru

The MiG-31 [NATO – Foxhound] is an all-season two-seat supersonic fighter interceptor with a long range. It is designed to intercept and destroy air targets at any altitude range, at any time of day, in simple and adverse weather conditions. Without recharging, the aircraft can fly up to 3000 km. Its ceiling is 20.5 km. The average flight duration without recharging is 3.3 hours.

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