The Mikoyan MiG-31 high-altitude interceptors of the Russia’s Pacific Fleet’s separate mixed air regiment practised air refuelling at night over Kamchatka in the Russian Far East. The night air refuelling is characterised by the absence of visible landmarks. The pilot is also limited by poor visibility when approaching the air tanker’s refuelling probe and making contact with its cone. The MiG-31 refuelling was trained at an altitude of 7,000 metres and at a speed of about 500 kmph. The fighter pilots carried out several sorties and made over10 contacts with the IL-78 aerial tanker of the Russian ASF Long-Range Aviation. The total night flying time of the crews exceeded 7 hours.
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 1991. The Russian Defence Ministry expects the MiG-31 to remain in service until at least 2030.
The Pacific Fleet is the Russian Navy fleet in the Pacific Ocean. Established in 1731 as part of the Imperial Russian Navy, the fleet was known as the Okhotsk Military Flotilla (1731-1856) and Siberian Military Flotilla (1856-1918), formed to defend Russian interests in the Russian Far East region along the Pacific coast. In 1918 the fleet was inherited by the Russian SFSR then the Soviet Union in 1922 as part of the Soviet Navy, being reformed several times before being disbanded in 1926. In 1932 it was re-established as the Pacific Fleet, and was known as the Red Banner Pacific Fleet after World War II as it had earned the Order of the Red Banner.The Pacific Fleet’s headquarters is located in Vladivostok, with numerous facilities within the Peter the Great Gulf in Primorsky Krai, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Vilyuchinsk in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Kamchatka Krai.