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The MiG-31BM fighter is among the fastest production aircraft

The MiG-31BM is the latest version of the MiG-31. It evolved as an improved version of the MiG-31B interceptor with an added air-to-ground capability. Development of this aircraft commenced in 1997. First prototype was introduced in 1998.

The second prototype was completed until 2006. In 2011 Russian MoD signed the first contract to upgrade a total of 60 aircraft to the new standard. Deliveries the the Russian Air Force commenced in 2011. A follow-on contract for upgrade of more than 50 aircraft was signed in 2014.

By 2017 a total of 110 aircraft were reportedly upgraded to the MiG-31BM and MiG-31BMS standards. This upgrade allowed to extend service life of older aircraft for at least another 15 years. It is planned that all operational MiG-31s will be upgraded.

The MiG-31BM is billed as a true multi-role aircraft. It is able to undertake long-range interception, precision strike and defense suppression tasks. One of its roles is suppression of enemy air defenses. It is among the deadliest fighters in the world.

This fighter has a high speed, altitude and rate of climb, however it sacrifices maneuverability in order to achieve these capabilities. The MiG-31BM is among the fastest production aircraft. It can reach a maximum speed of up to 3 000 km/h.

This aircraft has an advanced Zaslon-AM phased-array radar. It can detect air targets at a maximum range of 320 km. It can track 24 air targets simultaneously and engagement of 8 of them at once with its missiles. Furthermore unlike the earlier versions the MiG-31BM can act as a small airborne early warning aircraft.

With to its powerful radar and long detection range it has an added ability to track and datalink numerous radar contacts. The MiG-31BM can also act as an airborne command post and coordinate the actions of other types of fighters that have less powerful radars.

Both cockpits feature advanced displays allowing the crew to deploy precision-guided munitions.

The MiG-31BM can carry up to 9 000 kg of ordnance. It uses R-33S and R-37 long-range air-to-air missiles with a claimed reach of up to 200-280 km. Also there are R-77 medium-range missiles with a range of 100 km. For air defense suppression role it can carry up to 6 Kh-25MP, Kh-25MPU, Kh-31P, and possibly, Kh-58 anti-radiation missiles.

For anti-shipping role it can carry up to 6 Kh-31A anti-ship missiles. This multi-role fighter can be also armed with up to 3 Kh-29T and Kh-59, o up to 2 Kh-59M air-to-ground missiles. Recently a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles were added to the list of ωɛλρσɳs. A singe missile can be carried.

The MiG-31BM can also carry TV- or laser-guided bombs. It can use up to 6 KAB-1500 (1 500 kg) or up to 8 KAB-500 (500 kg) guided bombs.

Even though this aircraft is mainly intended to engage its targets with its missiles, there is also a 23 mm cannon with 260 rounds of ammunition.

Variants

MiG-31BSM is a designation of older MiG-31BS interceptors upgraded to the MiG-31BM standard. It lacks in-flight refueling capability. Such upgrade allowed to extend operational life of these aircraft for at least another 15 years.

MiG-31FE is a proposed export version of the MiG-31BM. This version can be fitted with Western ωɛλρσɳs or avionics.

MiG-31K is a modified version, tailored to carry the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic cruise missile. The radar has been removed. This aircraft carries more fuel. Instrument panels have been updated. By 2010 a total of 10 MiG-31s were upgraded to this standard.

<Source:http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/mig_31bm.htm>

 

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