Dec 17, 2013
MiG-31 Flights Suspended in Russia After Crash
Russia’s Air Force has grounded all MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor jets while investigators establish the cause of a crash of one of the planes.
The temporary suspension was imposed after a MiG-31 crashed near the Tsentralnaya Uglovaya airbase outside Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East on Saturday.
Investigators are examining the maintenance record of the plane, which they said crashed while on its first qualifying flight after a major overhaul. The Defense Ministry announced that one of the MiG-31’s two engines failed just before the accident.
A MiG-31 crashed in Kazakhstan in April, killing its pilot and injuring its navigator, four months after it had been overhauled. Kazakhstan, the only other country to use the MiG-31, temporarily suspended flights following the crash.
The Russian Air Force has 122 MiG-31 in service.
A modernization program was launched in 2011 to give the 30-year-old jet new radar, avionics, cockpit displays and a firing control system that can track ten targets simultaneously. Sixty of the upgraded models, designated the MiG-31BM, are to be delivered by 2020.
Russia announced in September 2012 that a MiG-31 squadron would be stationed on the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya as part of a nationwide air defense system. The Air Force said in August that it plans to keep MiG-31s in service until at least 2028.