These renovated fighters can operate at altitudes greater than 20,000 meters and speeds reaching 3,000 km/h.
Sokol Aviation Factory delivers modernized MiG-31
The United Aircraft Corporation has confirmed that its refurbished aircraft have already been dispatched to their respective bases. Upgrading these fighters not only preserves their original features but also gives them additional capabilities.
The MiG-31s, mainstays of Russian missile defense, are tasked with neutralizing cruise and ballistic missiles at any altitude. These state-of-the-art fighters can also detect and kill satellites, fifth-generation stealth aircraft, and UAVs.
Right now, the Russian Army is fielding the upgraded version of MiG-31BM. These interceptors feature a state-of-the-art weapons control system and radar stations, allowing the detection of targets up to 320 km away and their elimination up to 280 km away. The MiG-31BMs can track up to ten air targets simultaneously, attacking six of them at the same time.
MiG-31BM: High performance for modern warfare
These renovated fighters can operate at altitudes greater than 20,000 meters and speeds reaching 3,000 km/h, demonstrating their great potential in modern warfare.
In December, two modernized MiG-31BMs were delivered to Russia’s Central Military District in Krasnoyarsk, but the specific variant of these aircraft is still unknown. Although it is speculated that they could be the MiG-31BM version, this information has not been confirmed.
The MiG-31BM, an evolution of the original MiG-31 Foxhound, can intercept cruise missiles at low altitudes and is capable of carrying various types of Russian missiles, being able to intercept up to 24 targets simultaneously.
Russia strengthens its defense with a fleet of MiG-31BM
Russia currently has around 90 MiG-31BM fighters. The absence of details about the variant and the exact number of modernized MiG-31s makes it uncertain whether an additional shipment of MiG-31BMs has occurred.
Some experts have suggested that the MiG-31 could have been upgraded to the MiG-31K variant, which is equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. This possibility has been proposed by Vijainder K. Thakur, a veteran of the Indian Air Force, who argues that the MiG-31s could have been modified to carry hypersonic missiles.
The contribution of the MiG-31 to the VKS: Assessment by the RUSI
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has published a study highlighting the performance of the MiG-31 interceptor in defensive patrols of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). The report notes that these planes, equipped with R-37M and MiG-31BM long-range missiles, have been a problem for Ukrainian pilots.
According to this study, the Ukrainian Su-27 fighter fails to match the altitude, speed and range of the MiG-31. This interceptor can reach a speed of Mach 2.5 and fly at an altitude of approximately 18 kilometers for more than 700 kilometers.
Since the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the relevance of the MiG-31 for the Russian Air Force has increased. Reports indicate that only one MiG-31BM has been lost in a non-combat-related incident.
The “Kinzhal carriers”: MiG-31K in the VKS
Another variant of the MiG-31, known as the MiG-31K, has also presented significant challenges for Ukraine. The MiG-31K is armed with the Kh-47 Kinzhal hypersonic missile, proving especially effective in theater operations.
Ukraine’s Patriot missile defense system has been one of the main targets of Kinzhal missiles. The VKS has increased its use against this Ukrainian defense throughout the conflict.
F-16 Fighting Falcon: The Ukrainian Response to the MiG-31?
In response to the Russian air superiority evidenced by the MiG-31s, experts have suggested that Ukraine should consider acquiring NATO’s F-16 Fighting Falcon. This aircraft could counter Russian high-altitude interceptors and balance the air battlefield.