Apr 27, 2014
RAC MiG continues on “radical modernization” of the MiG-31
The Russian government has decided to support MiG-31 development and modernization following heated discussions in parliament. Aviadvigatel has submitted reports about the current status of the D30-F6 fleet, the equipment used to manufacture it and the supply of parts. There were 1,500 engines and 500 airframes built. The existing MiG-31 fleet has amassed a moderate number of flying hours and their engines have a long lifetime remaining. There is a stock of engines and spares.
Russia currently has 180 MiG-31s. The aircraft first flew in 1976, and the follow-on MiG-31M first took to the sky in 1985. The MiG-31D appeared in 1987 and demonstrated its ability to fly at Mach 2.83 with six long-range air-to-air missiles on a typical 3.5-hour intercept mission. During a trial in 1994 a developmental MiG-31 destroyed a low-flying target from a distance of 162 nm (300 km).
The most recent variant, the MiG-31BM, is a multirole aircraft with the redeveloped Zaslon-M passive phased-array radar, capable of detecting up to 10 targets simultaneously at a range of up to 175 nm (324 km). It can employ the RVV-BD active radar-guided weapon, with a firing range of 108 nm (200 km). The MiG-31BM can also carry R-77 infrared-guided air-to-air missiles, Kh-31 air-to-surface missiles and KAB-500 EO/IR-guided bombs. The Sokol plant in Nizhny Novgorod continues to upgrade in-service aircraft to the MiG-31BM configuration at a rate of 15 aircraft per year. The facility has a Russian MoD contract for about 60 MiG-31BMs for delivery between 2011 and 2018.