In the late 1960-ies of the USSR debuted his most formidable, as it seemed, fighter in the world. The MiG-25 "Foksbat" (Foxbat) in NATO classification) could beat any fighter, and in General any military aircraft except the SR-71 "Blackbird" (Blackbird).
Having such a carnivorous name (Foxbat translates as flying Fox), fearsome appearance and excellent performance, the MiG-25 seemed invincible. Possessing great speed, great altitude ceiling of resistance and serious fighting load, he created the impression that will be able to effectively fight on the Central front, and at the same time ensure Soviet airspace immunity from American penetration. The United States learned the lesson from the application of the third generation fighters in Vietnam, looking at the "flying Fox", has accelerated its innovation, and this has led to the creation of the F-15 "Eagle" (Eagle).
But the MiG-25 did not meet these expectations. Design flaws, production problems and the lack of tasks for the intended purpose meant that this aircraft is not able to compete on quality with the best fighters of his time, but at a cost — and the MiG-21. Despite its stunning features, "Flying Fox" today almost completely disappeared from the fighting force around the world.
The history of the MiG-25
The aircraft had to protect the airspace of the USSR from the high-speed and high-altitude American bombers. The greatest threat was represented by the B-58 Hustler (Hustler), entered service in the 1960-ies (it was a strategic bomber, carrying on Board a nuclear weapon and developed a speed of over two thousand kilometers per hour). But on the horizon loomed a futuristic bomber, the B-70 "Valkyrie" (Valkyrie) that could penetrate Soviet airspace at a speed of over three thousand kilometers per hour. With its Arsenal of long-range missiles, powerful radar, and powerful engines, the Soviets designed the MiG-25, making him the challenge to catch up and destroy these high-speed bombers.
The MiG-25 entered service in 1970 (the same year the B-58 was decommissioned, and the project B-70 was closed eight years earlier), and the last plane came out of the shop in 1984. In General, the Soviet Union was built 1 186 MiG-25 for the needs of the air force and for export, but the vast majority of these machines were used in the USSR. Moscow has never given a license to manufacture the machines abroad, but Beijing is never stopped, and he made every effort to copy the MiG-25.
Of course, the threat from Soviet anti-aircraft missiles forced the American bombers go from large to small height, causing a new lease of life got a B-52 "Stratofortress" (Stratofortress), and in the air defense system, major changes occurred. The MiG-25 was not radar detection and destruction of targets in the lower hemisphere (the Soviets developed them only in the 1980-ies), and the "flying foxes" it was very difficult to intercept from above. In fact, the MiG-25 was primarily used for the pursuit and interception of high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft such as the SR-71.
The MiG-25 was (and still is) amazing performance. During a long flight it can reach speeds of M=2,83, and if the pilot does not care about the engine, it can accelerate the car up to M=3. As an interceptor and superiority fighter in the air, the plane carries on Board four missile R-40 class "air-air" with a launch range of 80 kilometers. The MiG-25 can reach an altitude of more than 19.8 kilometer. The MiG-25 in the reconnaissance role equipped with modern electronic and photographic equipment, and had an even greater ceiling. Several cars were modernized and could act as a high speed strike fighter.
Such characteristics led to the horror of Western analysts who do not have sufficient information on how the MiG-25 flies in combat. The appearance of this machine (and its established records for speed and altitude) made US to begin creating a tactical fighter, which culminated in the F-15 "Eagle". When a Soviet defector in 1976 he landed a MiG-25 in Japan, American engineers have gained a better understanding of its characteristics.
They found that the "flying foxes" there are many problems and flaws. Because of the shortcomings of industrial technologies in the USSR this aircraft was heavier than their Western counterparts. He had poor maneuverability at high speeds and poor handling at low altitudes. Radar was not very effective in normal combat situations where you had to intercept enemy fighters and control issues at low altitude led to the fact that the plane in these conditions did not successfully complete their tasks. All of these shortcomings would be forgivable if the MiG-25 had to act as a high-altitude interceptor, but the act he had entirely different circumstances.
In battle "flying Fox" had achieved limited success. In 1971, the Soviet MiG-25 taking off from the Egyptian airfield, turned on the afterburners and managed to escape from several Israeli fighter runup of more than M=3, although this has failed both of its engine. During the war in the skies over Lebanon Israeli fighter jets in aerial combat shot down several Syrian MiG-25. During the civil war in Syria, the air force of the Syrian Arab Republic, in desperation, sent obsolete MiG-25 support ground forces, and in one case the pilot fired the rockets "air-air" on ground targets.
Iraq used the MiG-25 during the war with Iran and claimed that they shot down the Iranian aircraft (without mentioning their number and saying nothing about their own losses). According to available information, the Iraqi MiG-25 repeatedly bore the defeat of the Iranian F-14, but it is successfully destroyed more old planes. The Iraqi air force claimed that their MiG-25 shot down two of the last American aircraft lost in aerial combat. At the beginning of the Gulf war MiG-25 shot down a F/A-18, piloted by Scott Speicher (Scott Speicher) (American fighter jets destroyed several MiG-25). In 2002, the U.S. air force has set a trap for the pilot of the MiG-25, which, using the great speed of the interceptor, hunted by U.S. drones in the Northern no-fly zone. Engineers have installed on the UAV "Predator" (Predator) missile of class "air-air" to lure the MiG into a trap and destroy. But this plan did not succeed because the Iraqi pilot he shot down the drone missile.
In contrast to the older MiG-21, operating the MiG-25 remains very small. Most of them are in the air force of Algeria and the Syrian Arab Republic, although in recent years there have been reports that the MiG-25 returned to service in Libya. Most of the "flying foxes" was decommissioned shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some remained for some time in the air force of the former Soviet republics. Iraqi MiG-25 was mostly destroyed during the war in the Persian Gulf, and those that remained were destroyed in the operation "desert Storm".
In the USSR the MiG-25 eventually became the MiG-31. This version helped to solve many of the problems of the original, while retaining its main characteristics. The MiG-31 now have radar detection and destruction of targets in the lower hemisphere, so it got a chance to detect and destroy low-flying bombers and cruise missiles.
The MiG-25, designed to destroy bombers, which never appeared, became a headache for foreign designers and has accelerated the creation of one of the world's best fighters. He became the model and basis for the MiG-31, which to this day is in service in the Russian air force will fly all over the foreseeable future. But those few MiG-25 that was left, act in such a situation, which their creators could not conceive, and therefore, the effectiveness of them is very limited. "Flying Fox", designed to perform very specific tasks, are unable to adapt to the new conditions of warfare.
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