When American B-58 Hustlers appeared in early 1958, along with information about the Mach 3 North American B-70 Valkyrie still on the drawing board, the Soviet Union responded with the Mig-25, which Later became a legend. Mikoyan developed the MiG-25 to become the dominant long-range interceptor in the skies of the Soviet Union.
Being able to fly faster to bypass an ordinary air defense system is a dangerous task, but the MiG-25, like the SR-71, was nearly unharmed. During the Cold War, the Soviet MiG-25 conducted a series of reconnaissance flights in the helplessness of the fighter and air defense systems of the enemy. Agile and armed with R-40 air-to-air missiles, the MiG-25 Foxbat was ready to protect the Soviet border from any threat.
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. It was specifically designed to intercept US Air Force spy planes.
According to military experts, in the MiG-25 period, nothing could prevent it from becoming the most terrible symbol. Only the US SR-71 Blackbird spy plane is a little faster.
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.
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.
A standard MiG-25 has a length of 23.82m (78 ft 2 in), a wingspan of 14.01m (46 ft 0 in), and a height of 6.1m (20 ft 0 in). The empty weight is 20 tons (44,092 lb) while the maximum take-off weight is up to 37 tons (80,954 lb).
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”.
The Israeli Air Force dispatched Mirage III and F-4 fighters to intercept the MiG-25, but these efforts were to no avail, no missile hit the Soviet aircraft.
During the 1991 Gulf War, an Iraqi MiG-25 shot down an F/A-18 and in 2002 shot down a US Air Force Predator drone.
The MiG-25R squadron of the Russian Air Force has gradually been scaled down and by the end of 2013 the last MiG-25Rs were removed from service. Small numbers of MiG-25s are reported still maintained in Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Syria.
According to Western military experts, Russia’s official removal of all MiG-25 aircraft from the service will create a gap in the country’s military reconnaissance. However, its successor MiG-31 Foxhound will continue to carry the burden that MiG-25 left behind, but will be much heavier.
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