Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat

Overview

The MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’ was designed as a high speed, high altitude interceptor capable of countering advanced US strategic reconnaissance or bomber aircraft, such as the SR-71 Blackbird.  Development began in 1950s, with the simple concept of creating an aircraft able to reach extremely high altitudes as quickly as possible, and provide a weapons platform once there.  Manoeuvrability or close combat ability were very much secondary considerations.  The first prototype, designated Ye-155, first flew in 1964 with several subsequent prototypes, designated Ye-266, breaking various speed and altitude records.  

The MiG-25 (codenamed ‘Foxbat’ by NATO) entered service in 1970 with two basic variants, the MiG-25P interceptor and the MiG-25R reconnaissance aircraft.  Both were capable of Mach 3 at 90,000 ft (27,000m), although a practical limit of Mach 2.8 was imposed to prevent engine damage.  It was also forbidden to use the immensely powerful RP-25 Smerch-A1 radar while on the ground, as it was capable of killing rabbits near the runways.  By the time production ended in 1984, 1,190 MiG-25s had been built, many of them for export.

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