Mig-25 March3 Fighter

This was the USSR's answer to the design in the US of fast, high-flying aircraft as the B-70, F-108 and SR-71. The MiG-25 lacked technological refinement, but its performance caused much concern in the west. Also used as reconnaissance aircraft, which in the Middle-East proved invulnerable for the Israeli F-4 Phantom IIs.

Originated from line of experimental interceptors Ye-150, Ye-151, Ye-152, the first MiG-25P took off on September 6, 1964 as the Ye-155P-1. Powerful engines and choice of airframe materials (80% steel, 8% - titanium alloys, 11% - aluminum alloys, 1% - other) allowed to built the fastest interceptor of the time.

Production of MiG-25P started in 1969. In 1978 upgraded MiG-25PD rolled out, equipped with heat-seeker TP-23 in addition to more powerful Pulse-Doppler radar (Sapfir-25 instead Smerch-A). Early production MiG-25P were modified later to became the MiG-25PDS.

The MiG-25P is an interceptor aircraft for countering air targets in all weather conditions, by day and by night, and in dense hostile electronic warfare environments. The MiG-25P constitutes a part of the Russian S-155P missile interceptor system. The MiG-25P is produced by RSK MiG, which is based in Moscow and the Sokol Aircraft Manufacturing Plant Joint Stock Company at Nizhni Novgorod in Russia. The MiG-25 fighter series are known by the NATO codename Foxbat and are in service in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, India, Iraq, Algeria, Syria and Libya.


The MiG-25P is a twin-finned, high-wing monoplane with slightly swept wings and a variable-angle tail plane. To improve the aircraft's longitudinal stability, and to avert stall at steep angles and subsonic speed, there are two shallow upper-surface fences on each wing. The high-wing monoplane configuration together with lateral air intakes have the effect of reducing the loss of aerodynamic efficiency resulting from wing-fuselage interference.


The aircraft is armed with four R-40 (Nato codename AA-6 Acrid) air-to-air missiles equipped with infrared and radar homing heads. The range of these missiles is 2-60km. The missiles are suspended from four underwing pylons. It may also be fitted with two R-40 and four R-60 (AA-8 Aphid), or two R-23 (AA-Apex) and four R-73 (AA-11 Archer). The MiG-25 is not fitted with a gun.

The MiG-25P is fitted with electronic equipment including: Smerch-A2 radar sight (Nato codename Fox Fire), developed by the Phazotron Research and Production Company; Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder; aircraft responder to maintain communications with guidance and landing radars operating in active radio-location mode; and radar warning receiver. The flight control and navigation equipment includes ARK-10 automatic radio compass, RV-4 radio altimeter and Polyot-11 navigation-landing system. The Polyot-11 navigation and landing system, coupled with ground radio beacon and landing radio beacons, provides programmed aircraft manoeuvres including climb, en-route flight, returns to the take-off aerodrome or to one of the three emergency airfields, and low-run landing approach and missed approach manoeuvres.

The aircraft is powered by two R-15B-300 single-shaft turbojets, arranged in the tail section of the fuselage. The engines develop 11,200kgf of thrust with fully selected afterburner. The engines provide a maximum speed of 3,000km/hour at high altitude. The maximum speed at low altitude is 1,200km/hour. The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,500 metres. The range at altitudes between 9-11km with speed of Mach 0.85 is 1,950km. At higher altitudes between 20-21km and speed Mach 2.35, the range is 1,650km. The maximum in-service g-load is 4.5g.

The MiG-25R, MiG-25RB and MiG-25BM are derivatives from the MiG-25P. The MiG-25R is a tactical reconnaissance aircraft. The MiG-25RB is a variant for bombing area and large targets. The aircraft is fitted with a reconnaissance station, aerial camera, topographic aerial camera, the Peteng sighting and navigation system to bomb programmed targets, and electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment, which includes active jamming and electronic reconnaissance systems.

The MiG-25BM aircraft has the capability to launch guided missiles against ground targets, and to destroy area targets, targets with known co-ordinates, and enemy radars. The airborne anti-radar Kh-58 (Nato codename AS-11 Kilter) missiles are capable of destroying enemy radars, such as the targeting radars of Hawk-type air defence missile systems, at stand-off ranges. The launch range of the Kh-58 is from 40-300km. The Kh-58U missile is developed and manufactured by the Raduga Engineering Design Bureau, Moscow.

The Mig-25 Foxbat-A from Mikoyan-Gurevitch is the high-speed interceptor version of the Mig-25R. The most striking difference is the longer and smaller nose without radar cone and other differences are shorter wings for a better control and missiles of course. Just like the explorer the Mig-25A has a high max. speed of Mach 2,82 or 3000 km/h and poor manoeuvrability, so dogfight is not really his thing. The prototype Ye-266 did his first flight 6 months after the explorer and established a number of records of altitude and speed. The reaction of America to the Foxbat-A was the launch of FX program that led to the slower but more agile and modern F-15 Eagle. The improved version Foxbat-E has been put in serivce in 1988 and equipped with modernized avionics and the AA-11 Archer missile. The Mig-25 uses AA-8 Aphid or AA-11 Archer close combat and AA-6 Acrid or AA-7 Apex long-range missiles. The interception Mig-25 has been exported to Ukraine, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and Syria.

Since the MiG-25 was obviously something very different from anything Soviet pilots had flown before, a two-seat trainer seemed desireable early on. Two trainer variants were produced, including a "MiG-25PU" trainer for Foxbat interceptors and a "MiG-25RU" trainer for Foxbat reconnaissance variants.

Instead of fitting a tandem cockpit, MiG engineers simply lengthened the nose and put a second cockpit up front. This may have been done partly to get the trainer out as fast as possible, but it did have the benefit that the trainee's cockpit environment was almost identical to that which he would use in service. The instructor could initiate ejection for both himself and the flight trainee.

The two trainer variants were very similar externally, and in fact they used the same airframe, with the slightly cranked wing, short tailfins, and short exhausts of Foxbat interceptor variants. Both were given the NATO codename of "Foxbat-C". They differed in having optimized equipment fits for their respective training roles:

While the MiG-25PU lacked radar and most other combat systems, it was fitted with purpose-designed training systems to simulate intercept missions and various types of failures. The MiG-25PU retained stores pylons, which were occasionally used to carry dummy AAMs.
The MiG-25RU similarly deleted much of the equipment fit of the Foxbat reconnaissance variants, replacing it with purpose-designed simulation gear. It did not have the stores pylons.
The MiG-25PU was the first trainer to be built, with initial rollout in 1968. The MiG-25PU was also flown on weather reconnaissance missions and apparently got a lot of use, possibly because it was regarded as an economical way to keep up flight hours.

A standard MiG-25PU was used in 1977 to set a number of women's aircraft speed and altitude records. It was given the cover designation of "Ye-133". The pilot was the remarkable Svetlana Savitskaya, who had won the women's world aerobatics crown, set a record free-fall parachute jump, and gone on two space missions to Soviet space stations.

There were a number of special modifications and minor variants of the MiG-25 series:

One MiG-25PD interceptor was fitted with a modernized electronic countermeasures suite in a ventral fairing and redesignated "MiG-25PDSL", the "L" indicating that it was a "Laboratory" machine. The improved countermeasures system worked very well, but plans to upgrade MiG-25s in service with similar gear went no further, due to lack of resources.
One MiG-25PD was modified with a 25 centimeter (10 inch) nose plug to accommodate a retractable inflight refueling probe, and was also fitted with additional navigation gear to help it find a tanker. It was given the designation of "MiG-25PDZ". Although some sources claim that a number of operational machines also received this modification, in reality the scheme also foundered on lack of resources, particularly a scarcity of tankers.
One MiG-25PD and one MiG-25RB reconnaissance machine were modified in 1973 as "MiG-25M" testbeds for the improved "R-15BF2-300" turbojet, featuring an extra compressor stage and hotter operation, providing improved fuel economy and up to 30% greater thrust. The new engine variant had the same form factor as the old, though the higher operating temperature did require installation of improved heat-resistant elements in the the MiG-25Ms.

The performance of the MiG-25M was promising, but by the time it had been flown in trials the follow-on MiG-31 design, with its Soloviev (now Aviadvigatel) D-30F afterburning turbofan engines, was looking much more impressive. The MiG-25M effort was a dead end, with the test program ending in 1977. However, the MiG-25M derived from the MiG-25RB was used in 1975 and 1977 to set a number of climb and altitude records, being designated "Ye-266M" for the attempt.

The Foxbat was also used as a testbed for the Soloviev D-30F engine, with a MiG-24P and MiG-25R fitted with the improved engines and given the designation of "I-99". Performance was so good that some thought was given to actually fielding MiG-25 variants with D-30F engines as an interim solution before delivery of the MiG-31, but nothing came of this idea.
One MiG-25PU trainer was customized as a support aircraft for the Soviet Buran space shuttle program and given the designation of "MiG-25PU-SOTN", where "SOTN" stood for "Samolyot Optiko-Televisionnovo Nabyldeniya (Aircraft, Optical-TV Surveillance). It was used for experiments in Buran flight profiles, and as a chase plane for flights of the jet-powered Buran analogues used for development and training, and for the single space flight of the Buran.
A number of MiG-25RB reconnaissance machines were converted to a weather reconnaissance configuration and designated "MiG-25MR". The reconnaissance cameras and ELINT system were replaced by a meteorological instrument payload.
A single MiG-25RBV and a single MiG-25RBSh were used in trials with an inflight refueling probe, and redesignated "MiG-25RBVDZ" and "MiG-25RBShDZ" respectively. As with the attempt to fit the MiG-25 interceptor with inflight refueling capability, this exercise came to nothing.
A single prototype of a specialized night reconnaissance Foxbat was built, with the designation of "MiG-25RBN", with the ability to carry ten photoflash bombs. It turned out the photoflash bombs could also inflict damage on ground forces and so their use in training exercises was restricted, which also excessively restricted the usefulness of the MiG-25RBN. The MiG-25RBN designation was also sometimes assigned, possibly in error, to MiG-25RBV and MiG-25RBT machines.
Eight MiG-25RBVs were modified in 1969 with radiation monitoring gear and used to keep an eye on Chinese nuclear tests during the 1970s. They were designated "MiG-25RR", where "RR" stood for "Radiation Razvedchik / Radiation Reconnaissance". Their high speed was an asset as it limited the radiation exposure of the pilots. They were contaminated by fallout by their missions and scrapped after retirement.

Mig-25BM KH-58U

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