Like the Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 "Fishbed", the MiG-25 (NATO reporting designation "Foxbat") became a Soviet air threat to the West (and its respective global interests) after the Cold War half term. This high-speed, high-altitude interceptor has been a record holder from the start and has served air forces within the Soviet sphere of influence for decades.
Their most high-profile operations came in the Iran-Iraq war, with some modest success, and less so in the subsequent 1991 Gulf War, where many were destroyed by coalition forces. Regardless, the MiG-25 is a formidable aircraft in every sense and a lethal design when used with the proper facilities and professionally trained personnel.
Designed to house the planned North American B-70 Valkyrie family of jet bombers that never existed, but the MiG-25 went down in aviation history as a successful Soviet-era venture - the results of which continue to this day and can be seen at Appreciate service numbers within a limited range. The MiG-25 did a great job countering the Lockheed SR-71 spy plane and spurring the development (and eventual production) of the costly McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle air superiority line.
Approximately 1,190 MiG-25s of various types were eventually produced, covering interception, reconnaissance, electronic intelligence, training and bombing missions.
The MiG-25 will never be mistaken for a "special purpose" fighter, as its high mission speeds, poor visibility outside the cockpit and rapid fuel consumption make it unsuitable for long-term service. Instead, she becomes a highly specialized thoroughbred, designed for interception -- guided to her target by a powerful ground-based radar system -- while also amassing a formidable array of strike missiles. The MiG-25 employs some of the largest missiles ever installed on an AA-6 "Acrid" series aircraft (19.5 feet long), capable of engaging targets at a range of about 50 miles.
So flying foxes were stationed on both sides of the Soviet empire, protecting its airspace from anything the West seemed able to muster. The arms race is in full swing, and every step requires a critical counterattack.
In the late 1950s, the U.S. Air Force developed a long-range supersonic strategic bomber capable of speeds in excess of Mach 3 and altitudes in excess of 70,000 feet, codenamed the XB-70 "Valkyrie". North American Aerospace - designer and developer of the victorious WWII-era P-51 Mustang fighter jet - is honored for its creation. The idea behind this airframe was to provide an unreachable target for Soviet air defenses - the latest interceptor or surface-to-air missile systems, and then in inventory, as well as those responsible for protecting the vast airspace of the Soviet Empire, to surpass.
U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command envisions deploying a fleet of B-70 bombers in its stables, which would have a distinct advantage in reconnaissance and munitions delivery if the Cold War was "hot." In response to the XB-70, the Soviets developed a counterplan to support their aging and limited air defense network - a proposed Mach 3 manned interceptor designed to work directly with the PVO - Soviet air defenses.
Work on the aircraft began in mid-1959.
Valkyrie is a large aircraft design powered by no less than six afterburner turbojets and boasting an impressively streamlined profile. However, even before the proposed bomber took to the air, missile technology began to advance so rapidly that ICBMs soon took over the role of the proposed advanced fast bomber.
Combine these developments with the rising costs of the entire Valkyrie program, and demand for North American products is less attractive to American war planners. As a result, the Valkyrie program was officially discontinued and eventually cancelled in 1961.
Despite cancellations, two prototypes were completed under the experimental designation XB-70A (a third was under construction but never completed), with the first flight recorded on September 21, 1964. However, the XB-70A would never serve in a combat military role, but was relegated to a supersonic test bed. The series continued from 1964.
In 1966, one of the prototypes was accidentally lost while taking pictures during a mid-air collision with a trailing observation plane, but research flights continued until 1969. The remaining prototype was eventually displayed as a museum at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, where it is today.
While the Americans were wrapping up their chapters on the Valkyrie, the Soviet "Valkyrie Killer" development was advanced enough that cancellation was impossible - maybe the Soviet authorities understood the imminent long-term implications of the upcoming Lockheed SR- The 71 Blackbird Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft is derived from the company's 1962 A-12.
So, Mikoyan-Gurevich's Soviet design team - a company that rose to prominence during World War II - wanted to overcome several important development hurdles in order to create the perfect final product. The most important of which has become the "thermal barrier" encountered by high-performance aircraft during high-speed flight.
The team looked at the options available and realized they needed to integrate several different construction techniques and mixes of materials to facilitate a viable load-bearing airframe. Titanium, though expensive and difficult to machine, was chosen for its strength and high heat resistance, and was tagged for use along the nose and leading edges - those surfaces most vulnerable to high-speed heat buildup. Use welded steel instead of riveted aluminum along other trims. Ultimately, the new body will be made from 80% hardened nickel steel, 11% aluminum alloy and 9% precious titanium.
As with any aircraft struggling to fly at high speeds, high altitudes, pilots of the new Mikoyan-Gurevich aircraft will be forced to wear full pressure suits for their own safety looking more like space astronauts than traditional pilots. The designation "Ye-155" was assigned to the proposed interceptor design and received final Soviet approval in February 1962.
With the design in place, the development and final construction of the Ye-155-P1 began. On September 9, 1964, the aircraft was powered for the first time with two large R-15B-300 Mikulin turbojets, each producing 22,500 pounds of thrust. However, this performance comes at a price, with each motor being rated for only 150 hours of life. The aircraft received a Smertch-A (NATO: "Foxfire") radar for the intended interception role, and the armament consisted of pairs of various air-to-air missiles linked to a powerful radar system.
The Foxfire radar retains the ability to detect targets up to 62 miles away, while the aircraft's missile weapons become a hybrid of the R-40R and R-40T series of semi-active and infrared-guided missile systems. Of course, the goal of such an aircraft is to gain altitude as quickly as possible, gain altitude and charge towards a threat, spot an oncoming enemy and gain the initiative, and finally attack from a distance, deliver a lethal payload to the target, before triggering a reaction . Ye-155-P1 certainly has the qualities of such an interceptor.
Subsequent flight evaluations of the Ye-155-P1 airframe gave acceptable results.
While the Ye-155 has always been envisioned as an interceptor, Mikoyan-Gurevich has not abandoned its potential use as an untouchable "quick reconnaissance" platform. Even before the interceptor model made its maiden flight, a reconnaissance prototype - the Ye-155-R1 - recorded its maiden flight again on March 6, 1964, proving that the airframe had something to serve the Soviet Air Force The multi-faceted qualities of the power benefit completely.
The reconnaissance model has a vertical and four tilt cameras mounted along its forward fuselage and can be identified by its antenna located above the nose assembly.
In an attempt to further the apparent success of Soviet ingenuity on the Ye-155 prototype, the aircraft was given the secret designation "Ye-266" (Ye-266M) and used as a platform for record breaking, which were eventually officially awarded internationally The endorsement by the Federation of Aeronautics and Astronautics (FAI) brought the Soviet design to the attention of Western observers for the first time. The first record attempt was on March 16, 1965, driven by Alexander Fedotov, with 2,319 attempts. 12 km/h and payloads of 1,000 and 2,000 kg. 2,982.
Then in 1967 it reached 5 km/h without payload. Fedotov eventually set another record, reaching an altitude of 29,977 m with a 1,000 kg payload and later 35,230 m with a 1,000 kg payload - however, the latter record resulted in a twin-engine flame failure, forcing the pilot to obtain his The plane returned safely.
On August 31, 1977, the Ye-266M, powered by two R-15 BF2-300 engines, set a land speed record of 123,523. 62 feet. Of the 29 new Soviet design records, some were not broken until the early to mid-1990s, while others still stand today. By May 1965, Lockheed's A-12 was soon able to capture several records far from the Mikoyan-Gurevich aircraft.
In any case, the Mikoyan-Gurevich design team was awarded the "Lenin Prize" for their efforts in designing the Ye-155/Ye-266 and its counterparts. Incidentally, the record-breaking Ye-266 airframe was crucial to the development and eventual production of the upcoming MiG-31 "Foxhound" series - built in 1982 to overcome the performance limitations of the MiG-25 series long-range interceptor.
The latter entered service with the Soviet troops in the 1970s.
Production of the Soviet interceptor began in 1969 under the military designation "MiG-25". However, during early service, reliability issues related to the complex powerplant surfaced, forcing full front-line service to be delayed until 1973. Once in service, the MiG-25 was as complex as the machine during development, and its operation was more or less restricted in order to preserve its delicate engine mass.
Although the engines themselves were powerful, they only allowed brief bursts of top thrust to reach the maximum intercept speed of Mach 3, so pilots were instructed to limit general use to around Mach 2.8 to maximize engine life and avoid stalling.
Once NATO knew - they considered the new Soviet aircraft a manoeuvrable, purpose-built fighter design - the MiG-25 was code-named "Foxbat" in line with NATO convention, and Soviet fighter jets were designated with an "F" - Designation and bomber "B" designation. For much of the remainder of the Cold War, little information or imagery of the elusive MiG-25 was hampered. A little luck finally formed on September 6, 1976, when Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected to the Soviet Union and landed his MiG-25P at Hakodate Airport in northern Japan. His journey began at Sakharovka Air Force Base, and upon landing, U.S. intelligence officers were on site in charge of his MiG-25.
It was quickly assessed, revealing its ultimate strengths and inherent weaknesses to the U.S. intelligence community. The MiG-25 was by no means a nimble fighter, but at this time production of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter - designed to compete with the MiG-25 - was well underway, as the new US mount was already in January 1976 Start serving.
Belenko also brought news of the upcoming MiG-31 series - an interceptor, now capable of attacking targets at low altitudes - aircraft and cruise missiles.
The exterior design of the MiG-25 "Foxbat" is very traditional in every way, with a long, board-sided fuselage that matches a square fuselage. The airframe design required the installation of a pair of large engines deeply embedded in the design.
The air intakes are located on either side of the cockpit and have sharp angles to accommodate airflow from either side of the nose assembly. The nose protrudes a long way in front of the cockpit, eliminating any natural ability for the pilot to "look down." Placing the cockpit between the two air intakes further obstructed the pilot's view, with the fuselage spine starting behind the canopy. The canopy is a simple two-piece system, but heat resistant.
The wing is of single-wing construction, set high along the intake side, swept sharply along its leading edge and less so along its trailing edge. To counteract the airflow from these components, horizontal stabilizers are placed under the main wings and have a similar swept back, although they have a stronger trailing edge in comparison. The engine's exhaust ring smoothes the shape of the rear of the fuselage and somewhat disrupts the true boxy shape of the MiG-25 design. The engines are arranged side by side in a closely spaced seating group. As a result, two vertical fins were fitted outboard of each engine location, although both maintained a fairly straight - albeit swept rearward - standing profile.
Overall, the MiG-25 conformed to the design of Soviet aircraft at the time, especially in terms of speed - purposefully throughout. The MiG-25 will certainly never win the pageant, but its specificity ensures it is designed to win the upcoming aerial confrontation.
Its silver look also complemented many aircraft of the time, especially those from the 1950s and 1960s.
The MiG-25P ("Foxbat-A") was the first all-weather single-seat interceptor to enter service. Power is provided by a pair of Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburner turbojets, each delivering 16,524 lbf of thrust and 22,494 lbf of thrust, each with afterburner. Top speed is Mach 3.2 (2,170 mph) at high altitudes and around 740 mph at low altitudes. Range is limited to 1,075 miles, regardless of external fuel supply.
The ferry range is 2,575 km. This MiG-25 variant can carry a payload of four missiles to more than 80,000 feet and achieve a climb rate of 40,950 feet per minute. A typical weapons payload is a pair of radar-guided R-40R (AA-6 "Acrid") air-to-air missiles and a pair of infrared-guided R-40T infrared/semi-active air-to-air missiles.
Alternative payloads could include AA-7 "Apex" medium-range radar-guided missiles and AA-8 "Aphid" short-range infrared-homing air-to-air missiles.