MiG-25 Foxbat Resources & References

The fastest fighter ever put into operational service, Mikoyan’s MiG-25 was a major “boogeyman” to the West when it first appeared in the 1960s, and was a major driving force in shaping the USAF’s FX program that resulted in the F-15.

The threat from Strategic Air Command bombers spurred several generations of progressively more capable Soviet interceptors – the MiG-15 and MiG-17 were targeted at the B-29 and B-36, while such types as the MiG-21 and Su-9 were to counter the B-52. But as the 1950s were ending, even more capable American strategic aircraft were in the offing, including the Mach-2 Convair B-58, and the Mach-3 B-70 Valkyrie. These threats demanded a much more powerful interceptor, and after flying the Ye-152/153 series, Mikoyan started over with a clean sheet of paper, designing a massive single-seat aircraft powered by two Turmansky R-15B turbojets. The prodigious fuel demands of these engines dictated that most of the stainless steel airframe’s internal space had to be devoted to fuel tankage.

The Ye-155P-1 interceptor prototype flew in September 1964, and the following year the Ye-266 was used to set a number of world records. The MiG-25P Foxbat-A production version, without the prototype’s wingtip tanks, began arriving several years later, armed with a quartet of the large R-40/AA-6 Acrid AAMs. Attacking high-Mach targets such as B-70s operating at what amounted to the fringes of the sensible atmosphere demanded a large missile with substantial control surfaces to “bite” in the thin air, as well as a large warhead. This led to the development of the R-40, which remains the largest AAM to enter operational service, being larger (though slightly lighter) than the experimental US XAIM-97 Seekbat that was tested as an anti- MiG-25 weapon. Unlike the American missile, which combined SARH with IR terminal homing, the R-40 was procured in distinct radar and infrared versions, which were carried together.

The interceptor model Foxbats were well on their way to retirement by the late 1980s, and this process was speeded up as the Cold War waned, and a suddenly-independent Russia abruptly had little need to maintain older interceptors such as the Foxbat. The long history of MiG-25 operations in the former USSR finally came to a close in late 2013 with the retirement of the last recce Foxbats at Mochegorsk.

MiG-25 Variants:

MiG-25PD Foxbat-E: Saphir-25 radar for dealing with low-level targets; R-15BD-300 engines. The PDS models were MiG-25Ps brought up to PD standard.

MiG-25PDZ: Solitary aircraft fitted with a refueling probe.

MiG-25RR: Eight interceptors refitted to gather samples from fallout clouds produced by Chinese atmospheric nuclear tests.

MiG-25RBK: Dedicated SIGINT version with datalink capability; Koob-3 system housed in reshaped nose. Later block aircraft had the Berzoya RWR in place of the older Sirena system, and revised intakes.

MiG-25RBF: RBKs refitted with the Shar-25 ELINT system and enhanced countermeasures

MiG-25RBN: Variant optimized for high altitude photographic recce at night.

MiG-25RBS: No cameras, fitted with the Sabla-E LSAR behind large panels on the nose.

MiG-25RBSh: RBS airframes refitted with the Shompul SLAR.

MiG-25RBT: Tangazh SIGINT equipment.

MiG-25RBV: SRS-9 Virazh SIGINT system.

MiG-25RU Foxbat-C: Reconnaissance trainer.

MiG-25BM Foxbat-F: Secretive SEAD version with the Yaguar EW suite, and capable of carrying four KH-58U/AS-11 ASMs underwing.

MiG-25 Bibliography:

“Anti-Foxbat Missiles Studied” Aviation Week & Space Technology June 19, 1972 p.12

Photo sequence showing Belenko’s Foxbat at Hakodate Aviation Week & Space Technology September 27, 1976 p.18-19

Photo: underside view of an Algerian Foxbat Aviation Week & Space Technology November 12, 1979 p.24

MiG-25 scale drawings and color profile Modelism 1-1985

Photos: “Libyan Foxbat-E Carries Soviet AA-6, AA-8 Missiles” Aviation Week & Space Technology April 20, 1987 p.18-19

MiG-25MP 3-view Air International May 1987 p.240

Andy Brook “Review: MiG-25PD in 1/72 from ICM” Scale Aviation Modeller April 2009

Preview: MiG-25PD/PDS in 1/48 from Kitty Hawk Models Model Airplane International January 2014

“Libya Dawn Reflies and Loses a MiG-25 Foxbat” Air Forces Monthly June 2015 p.26

David Donald Spyplane p.112: color profile of MiG-25R #503

Gerry Manning 1000 Preserved Aircraft in Colour p.44: photo of MiG-25U preserved at Moscow