Russian MiG-31 crew fires at Ukrainian pilots from a hundred miles away – Ukrainians can’t fire back | Media Pyro


IIt’s no secret The Russian Air Force has failed to achieve air superiority in the skies over Ukraine.

Hampered by inflexible procedures, severely lacking in precision weapons, and overwhelmed by tough Ukrainian air defenses, the Russian Vozdushno-kosmicheskiye ChileOr the VKS, despite having a 10 to 1 numerical advantage in fighters and attack jets compared to the Ukrainian Air Force, is holding its own over Ukraine.

But that doesn’t mean the Russians are doing everything wrong. Three regiments flying the VKS’ best interceptor—the twin-engine, two-seat Mikoyan MiG-31BM— succeeding Where is most of the rest of the Air Force? getting lost.

MiG-31 crews, conducting high-altitude defensive patrols and firing powerful Vympel R-37M air-to-air missiles at ever-changing fronts, have apparently shot down several Ukrainian jets in recent weeks. The Ukrainians’ own fighters and missiles lack the speed, range and altitude performance to effectively retaliate.

“Defensive patrols by the VKS have proven very effective against Ukrainian attack aircraft and fighter jets, with the MiG-31BM and R-37M long-range air-to-air missile being particularly problematic,” wrote Justin Bronk, Nick Reynolds, and Jack Watling. A new study by the Royal United Services Institute in London.

The 24-tonne MiG-31, which first flew in 1975, is a rare beast. It is an evolution of the classic aircraft, the Cold War-vintage Mykoyan MiG-25, which was specifically designed by the Russians to intercept supersonic US Air Force bombers on nuclear strike runs. Today about 90 upgraded MiG-31BMs equip three regiments, at least one of which has jets deployed to fly over Ukraine to Belbek Air Base in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The MiG-31 flies higher, faster and farther than the Ukrainian Air Force’s best Sukhoi Su-27 interceptors. The heavyweight fighter can fly at altitudes of 60,000 feet to 450 miles and make short bursts at Mach 2.5.

From their high perch, MiG-31 crews can search for targets using the jet’s Saslon radar and fire a single, underbelly R-37M at targets up to 200 miles away, although the missile works best at ranges greater than 80 miles. In contrast, a Ukrainian Su-27 can launch a Vympel R-27 missile at a distance of more than 50 miles.

When Ukrainian forces launched twin counter-offensives in the east and south in late August, the VKS conducted round-the-clock patrols in eight zones of Ukraine, each patrol consisting of a pair of MiG-31s ​​or a pair of Sukhoi Su-35s.

Patrolling Was hunting For Ukrainian attack aircraft – Sukhoi Su-25, Sukhoi Su-24, Mikoyan MiG-29 – supporting counterattacks. Outside analysts confirmed that Ukraine lost four MiG-29s and six Su-25s. A Su-24 An Su-27 after the counterattacks began in late August.

It is unclear how many MiG-31 crews were killed. Perhaps many. “In October the VKS fired up to six R-37Ms per day,” Bronk, Reynolds, and Watling wrote, “and the weapon’s high velocity and very long effective range, a seeker designed to engage targets at low altitude, make it particularly difficult to evade.”

One MiG-31 VKS was written off in a non-combat accident in Crimea. Other than that, the interceptor crew was unharmed in the current battle. Ukrainians who cannot fight back are fired upon.

The closest Ukrainian forces were hit by MiG-31s ​​was a single bombing raid on the Belbek airbase in October. The apparent rocket attack on the base destroyed or damaged several Russian aircraft, but none were MiG-31s.

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