The Mig-25 Foxbat: A Soviet Cold War Supersonic Interceptor
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The Mig-25 Foxbat: A Soviet Cold War Supersonic Interceptor

The Mig-25 Foxbat: A Soviet Cold War Supersonic Interceptor

Conceptualized as a deterrent against the North American XB-70 Valkyrie Mach 3 high altitude strategic bomber, the Mig-25 Foxbat turned out exceeding its expected performance specifications following its first flight in 1964 and established a remarkable world record most of which still stands undefeated to date. Manufactured by the Soviet's Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB) as a high wing speed monster powered by 2 Soyuz/ Tumansky R-15B afterburning turbojets, it has a maximum speed of 3.006 km/h at 42,630 ft. capable of operating at a maximum altitude of 75,460 ft. at a range of 2,400 km armed with 4 bombs and equipped with a drop tank. 

While the XB-70 Valkyrie program was cancelled on 4 February 1969 following the loss of the second prototype on a flight mishap while undergoing promotional photoshoot from its engine manufacturer, the Mig-25 Foxbat production continued despite losing its prime purpose retaining its designated task as a high performance interceptor. Six variants were introduced with Foxbat-A (an interceptor with 4 air to air missiles), Foxbat-B (operational level reconnaissance bomber), Foxbat-C (two seat conversion trainer), Foxbat-D (improved reconnaissance version), Foxbat-E (improved radar), and Foxbat-F (defence suppression role). Constructed heavily of stainless steel and titanium leading edges to withstand extreme heat at Mach 3 resulted in the aircraft with a Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 41,200 kg (90,830lb). Mig-25 Foxbats entered service in 1972.

Some Records Attained:

-  A world speed record of 2,319.12 km/h was attained by test pilot Alexander Fedotov over a 1,000 km circuit on 16 March 1965.

-  Boris Orlov attained a time to height record of 20,000 meters in 2 minutes and 49.8 seconds on 4 June 1973.

-  On 31 August 1977, Alexander Fedotov piloted the aircraft for an added absolute altitude record for a jet aircraft under its own power at 37, 650 meters (123,520 ft).

Some 1,190 units of the type were manufactured until it ended production in 1984. Air forces from 11 world countries were known to have operated the type, and gained participation in some of the world's known conflicts like in Lebanon (1982), Iraq (1991-2003), Azerbaijan (1992-1994), and Persian Gulf War (2002) among others.

Among the interesting facts about the Mig-25 Foxbat was the defection of Soviet pilot Lt. Viktor Belenko on 6 September 1976 resulting in a US possession of a Mig-25P variant when Belenko landed his aircraft at Hakodate Airport in Japan. The Foreign Technology Division of the USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base managed to analyze the technology behind the aircraft type by dismantling it into pieces before returning it to the Soviets after two months. The Mig-25 is now retired with the development of a much improved version, the Mig-31 Foxhound. 


pp 110-111, The world's Greates Aircraft by Christopher Chant

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Comments (12)

Great job!

Your article kept me spell bound. I must have a special interest in planes since my daddy was in the airforce. thank you for this education.

Awesome article, makes me wish I was a pilot. This plane reminds me a video game I used to play.

Great, expert discussion of a cool plane.

Great presentation. I've learned a lot from your amazing expertise in planes..thanks

Another perfect article on aviation history. Wasn't the Mig-25 the aircraft that Clint Eastwood stole in the movie Firefox Down? I only saw the movie a couple of times but Mig-25 seems to pop up when I think of that movie.

Thanks for all your comments, everyone. I suppose the film Firefox was based on a Mig-31 Foxhound only they replaced the NATO designation as Firefox in the film (I suppose the internet browser version wasn't yet invented when Craig Thomas wrote the book from which the film was based). The actual image of the aircraft used on the film differs from the original however considering the magic of special effects, it must be a full scale mock up built for the film to make it look real, Jerry.

Very interesting but I must admit that I'd probably get sick riding in something that fast!

very interesting

That is definitely one fast plane.

a truly great flying machine

You have a niche for these types of articles. Keep writing them because I will always read them.