Two Russian MiG-31 supersonic fighter jets honed their skills during stratosphere drills in training footage released by the defense ministry.
One MiG-31 long-range interceptor played the role of an aircraft violating Russian airspace during an exercise for fighter pilots from Yelizovo airbase in Kamchatka. It was cruising at an altitude of 20km, well into the stratosphere, and at “maximum speed.”
Another MiG-31 was scrambled to intercept the “bogey.” To make the task more difficult, the interceptor operated alone, without ground anti-aircraft support. The MiG-31 features powerful onboard radar and can perform this type of task relying solely on its onboard systems.
The interceptor found the “bogey” and made a mock air-to-air missile launch while flying at 2,000kph at an altitude of over 14km. The “intruder” took evasive maneuvers, but was “hit” and “destroyed” by the mock missile from a distance of 100km. Upon completing the exercise, both planes returned to the base.
The defense ministry did not provide exact details, but at that altitude, a MiG-31 can reach speeds of 3,000kph. The Mikoyan MiG-31 (NATO reporting name: Foxhound) is a supersonic interceptor aircraft developed for use by the Soviet Air Forces. The aircraft was designed by the Mikoyan design bureau as a replacement for the earlier MiG-25 “Foxbat”; the MiG-31 is based on, and shares design elements with the MiG-25. The MiG-31 has the distinction of being one of the fastest combat jets in the world. It continues to be operated by the Russian Air Force and the Kazakhstan Air Force following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991. The Russian Defence Ministry expects the MiG-31 to remain in service until at least 2030.