One of the fastest military aircraft ever built. The “first” terror of the entire Western world. Born with a mission to destroy any type of aircraft… even if the plane was never born. It was the MiG-25, the Soviet Union’s worst nightmare for the US.
During the Cold War, the West was shocked to hear that the Soviet Union had created the MiG 25, a new type of aircraft that was said to be versatile, extremely powerful, and dominated the sky. Western industrial intelligence was hungry for information about the new Soviet plane.
MiG 25 was discussed by the West at that time as an “undecipherable monster”. The fear of the MiG-25 was such that modern aircraft such as the Blackbird SR-71 did not dare to enter Soviet airspace. It was amazing when the gift fell from the sky. A MiG 25 appeared in the sky over Japan, landing at Hakodate airport on the island of Hokkaido. It was September 6, 1976. No one had seen this monster before. It was a twin-engine jet aircraft, with a large range, many superior features, and more engineering than the aircraft of that time.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25, also known as Foxbat, is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. In 1964, the awesome Soviet aircraft made its first flight to the sky. The arrival of the Soviet interceptor at maximum speed near Mach 3, was an unpleasant surprise for the Americans. As a result, the US Congress held an extraordinary session, which decided to accelerate the progress of projects F-14 and F-15.
Visually, the new interceptor was designed with a twin vertical tail fins, mounted outside of each engine’s position. Two horizontal planes sweep backwards. Due to the high speed and the maximum takeoff weight, the interceptor was designed with two engines, installed side by side at the rear.
The airframe has a characteristic square shape. Air intakes are located on both sides of the cockpit, with sharp angles that match the aerodynamic design to accept airflow from the sides of the nose assembly. The wings are arranged in a monoplane style, along the air intakes, swept sharply along their leading edges. The horizontal stabilizers are arranged below the main wings and are similarly swept back. The cockpit is located behind a sharp nose. The pilot sits in a simple, heat-resistant two-piece canopy. His “look-down” capability is limited by the nose too long.
MiG-25 is equipped with a pair of Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojet engines, producing 73.5 kN dry thrust, and up to 100.1 kN with afterburner. Foxbat can reach a maximum speed of 3,000 km/h at high altitude, equivalent to Mach 2.83. At low altitudes it can also reach speeds of 1,100 km/h. The range of the interceptor is 1,860 km at Mach 0.9, and decreases to 1,630km if operating at Mach 2.35. The ferry range is 2,575km, the service ceiling is over 20,000m, and a rate of climb of 208m/s.
The MiG-25 seems to be born to create records, first of all for its amazing speed and altitude difference. Many world records have been set in future trials and production of fighters. In total, Soviet test pilots set 38 world aviation records.
Regarding weapons, the Mig-25 can carry air-to-air missiles including R-40, R-23, R-60, and R-73. MiG-25 is equipped with a Smerch-A radar that can guide R-40 air-to-air missiles to hit targets at distances up to 65km.
The new Soviet interceptor was born at the time of the military conflict between Egypt and Israel, from 1967 to 1970. In Egypt, MiG-25R and MiG-25RB aircraft were put into combat. The MiG-25RB was the most modern reconnaissance bomber at the time. In addition to scouting by taking photos and radio information, the MiG-25RB can also bomb enemy ground targets.
According to the announcement on the official website of the MiG Group, the concept of a reconnaissance-bomber complex was first introduced in the Soviet Union was referring to the MiG-25RB and its subsequent models. This concept was many years ahead of its time, and it was not until the late 20th century that it became popular in the world’s military aviation.
Soviet aircraft tests in Egypt took place between October 1971 and March 1972. During this time, the Soviet MiG-25 conducted reconnaissance flights on the Sinai Peninsula, occupied by the Israeli army. For a long time, the Israeli military could not identify what kind of aircraft appeared in Egypt. They gave them different names like “MiG-21 Alpha” or “X-500”.
One of the most humiliating betrayals in Soviet history is related to the MiG-25. In September 1976, Lieutenant Viktor Belenko defected to Japan in a MiG-25. The interceptor was later dismantled and handed over to American experts for research before it was returned to the Soviet Union. The secrets were exposed to potential enemies, MiG-25 was quickly upgraded and replaced the equipments.
The secret was revealed, the Soviet Union immediately canceled the plan to produce 1,200 more MiG-25s. The pressure in the cold war made the arms race in the air force to a new level. The US released the improved F-15, causing the Soviet Union to quickly produce the Su-27. The advantages on the MiG 25 were inherited on a new design, the MiG 31, equipped with sophisticated sensors, powerful radar, and better engines.