Designed to meet the threat of an American high speed bomber that never went into production the MIG-25 Foxbat is the worlds fastest fighter aircraft. By the time the US bomber was cancelled the Russians were loath to cancel the project and thought that a fast interceptor would always be useful and could be used as a reconnaissance platform as well. The new MIG was first seen by the west in 1967 (called Foxbat-A by Nato). The new impressive aircraft caused the Americans to start developing a fighter of their own to counter it and this would become the F-15 Eagle which although slower is a much more modern aircraft. In 1976 the West got a closer look as Lieutenant V. Belenko defected to the west in his MIG-25 landing in Japan. Technicians examined the aircraft closely until it was returned to the Russians several days later. Although primitive in its technology especially radar, the Foxbat is designed for high speed especially over long distances and requires a 4,500 ft runway to take off and at high speed its manoeuvrability is no worse than any other fighter at over mach 2 since at that speed all fighters have to slow down to do any combat manoeuvres. Due to heat generated during high speed flight the Foxbat is almost all steel as aluminium would become too weak when heated to the 300 degrees centigrade reached at mach 3. This makes the fighter very heavy at 44,090lbs (20000Kg) empty. In wartime the foxbat would not close on its target attacking from around 56 miles (90km) away at high speed it could close at a rate of 1 mile per second. MIG-25 have been exported to Algeria, India, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The Foxbat-D is a reconnaissance version.
Max Speed; 3399km/h (2,112mph)
Mach 3.2 Operational Ceiling 80,000 ft (24,400m),
Combat radius: 1450km (900miles)
Weapons; up to 4 Air to Air missiles
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (11 February 2001), MIG-25 Foxbat, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_mig25.html