The Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) has asked MiG Corporation to upgrade their fleet of MiG-31 fighter aircraft. Two contracts pertaining to the same were signed on August 24 during the ARMY-2021 Forum, the company said in a recent release. One of the contracts inked is for the upgrade of MiG-31K fighter-interceptors that are capable of carrying “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles. The other state contract is to modernize MiG-31 aircraft to the MiG-31BM configuration. The documents were signed by Alexey Krivoruchko, Deputy Defence Minister and Andrey Gerasimchuk, Managing Director of MiG Corporation.
The Mikoyan MiG-31 (Russian: reporting name: Foxhound) is a supersonic interceptor aircraft that was 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 exclusive serial manufacturer of the MiG-31 aircraft is Nizhny Novgorod Aircraft Plant “Sokol” of RAC “MiG”. The MiG-31 is among 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 MOD expects the MiG-31 to remain in service until 2030 or beyond and was confirmed in 2020 when an announcement was made to extend the service lifetime from 2,500 to 3,500 hours on the existing airframes. Efficiency of modernized MiG-31BM is said to be 2.6 times greater than basic MiG-31. The MiG-31B?’s maximum detection range for air targets was increased in the upgrade to 320 km. It had the ability to automatically track up to ten targets, and the latest units can track up to 24 targets and simultaneously engage up to eight targets. The aircraft gained a sole role of an attack aircraft.
Some upgrade programs have found their way into the MiG-31 fleet, like the MiG-31BM multirole version with upgraded avionics, new multimode radar, hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls, liquid crystal (LCD) color multi-function displays (MFDs), ability to carry the R-77 missile and various Russian air-to-ground missiles (AGMs) such as the Kh-31 anti-radiation missile (ARM), a new and more powerful computer, and digital data links. 100 aircraft are to be upgraded to MiG-31BM standard by 2020. The MiG-31K is the modified MiG-31BM variant capable of carrying hypersonic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles.