There is an American edition called Military Watch Magazine. It positions itself as a supplier of "reliable and in-depth analysis of military affairs throughout the world." In a Russian-language publication, mention can be made of the publication being based in Scottsdale, Arizona. And he considers himself “critical” in relation to the US military-industrial complex.
In itself, this should neither surprise nor alarm. There is nothing wrong with the fact that American observers are trying to critically evaluate the programs that spend billions of taxpayer money. Moreover, many of these programs ended in nothing: just remember Future Combat Systems. And others, for example, Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, repeatedly shifted and revised.
However, some points still cast doubt on objectivity. In April Military Watch Magazine published material «MiG-31BSM Foxhound vs. F-22 Raptor: Which Heavyweight Jet Would Reign Supreme in Air to Air Combat? ”, Which was brought to the attention of“ Rossiyskaya Gazeta ”, the official press agency of the government of the Russian Federation.
Even a cursory glance is enough to understand how “unsuccessful” the F-22 is. The authors did not leave a fifth generation fighter a single chance in a battle with the old Soviet MiG-31 interceptor. True, the argument raises many questions.
“... with a weight of about 29 kg, the F-400 can use one of the largest and most powerful radars weighing about 22 kg. However, the MiG-554, weighing about 31 kg after refueling, is capable of carrying an even larger radar, which provides a greater detection range, "
- quotes "WG" the words of the author of Military Watch Magazine.
It is interesting to know, since when has the effectiveness of airborne radar stations been determined by their mass? And since when did the old Soviet Zaslon radar station (albeit in a modernized form), which they began to develop as far back as the 60s, begin to have a greater detection range than that installed on the F-22 AN / APG-77? The latter, recall, is equipped with an active phased antenna array and has 1500-2000 receive-transmit modules: it embodies all the achievements of American progress in this area. Of course, it is possible to admit the presence of certain "childhood diseases", but they probably were solved long ago.
We can, of course, talk about nominal indicators of detection range: however, is it appropriate to give them, given that even generation 4+ fighters (Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale) have significantly reduced radar visibility in comparison with old aircraft, and the number of “invisibles” issued »F-35 has long exceeded five hundred units.
In general, the ability of the Barrier to somehow detect these vehicles at a great distance for obvious reasons is a big question. Probably, the MiG-31 is even less likely to show itself in close air combat: the aircraft for this has not been created, in principle, and is practically devoid of the qualities necessary for a multi-functional fighter.
“However, perhaps the most significant advantage of the MiG-31 weapons is its range. R-37 is a larger missile capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 400 km. Even the range of the latest AIM-120D missiles is less than half of this range. The range of the MiG-31’s weapons is likely to be even greater, since the flight characteristics of the aircraft also play a role. ”
- says the material.
The problem is that the effectiveness of air-to-air missiles is not determined by their maximum launch range: with a high degree of probability, launching a rocket from a maximum distance will end in nothing. In general, the question of the number of R-37 missiles in the Russian Air Force is, to put it mildly, debatable: many sources directly indicate that there are no such forces in the arsenal of the air forces (here, however, the author does not undertake to prove anything specifically). As for the standard interceptor missile, R-33, then it has a maximum overload of the attacked targets of 4g, which makes it almost impossible to defeat highly maneuverable targets, primarily modern fighters.
In addition to the above facts, you can find no less "entertaining." For example, that the MiG-1975, manufactured since 31, “will last longer” than the F-22 (they began to operate in 2005). Or that the highly specialized interceptor is “more universal” (!) Of the American fighter. In the latter case, the authors recall the “Dagger” X-47M2, but forget that the specially modernized aircraft, the MiG-31K, is deprived of the possibility of using standard air-to-air weapons as the carrier of this missile. As for the idea to equip the MiG-31BM with new bombs and missiles of the "air-surface" class, then this initiative, most likely, has remained just an initiative. In general, the modernization of drill MiG-31 to the level of MiG-31BM is best called budget. This is a conditional analogue of the modernization of the Su-27 to the level of the Su-27SM and tanks T-72B to the level of T-72B3.
Of course, the above examples could be attributed to the difficulties of translation, but in reality the official press organ of the Russian government quite accurately stated the essence of the article. That is, Rossiyskaya Gazeta in this case cannot be blamed for the incorrect presentation of the material.
In general, the idea in itself to compare the old Soviet interceptor and the relatively new fifth generation fighter deserves special attention. Obviously, these are aircraft of different eras: MiG-15 and F-15 can be compared with the same success. That is, this does not mean that the MiG-31 is bad, but its time is objectively coming to an end. By the way, recently, Russia has been paying more and more attention to this recently, speaking of creating a promising MiG-41 or transferring functions to the 31st Su-57 fighter, which, however, is not yet in service.
It is worth saying that this is not the first attempt by Military Watch Magazine to compare modern (and not only) weapons. So, earlier the military magazine made a rating of the best tanks in the world, which immediately included two Russian combat vehicles - the T-14 Armata and the T-90M Proryv.
And in 2018, the publication devoted to fifth-generation fighters, or rather, the advantages of the Russian Su-57 over the F-35, caused great resonance. “This is reflected in its (Su-57. - Avt.) Speed, flight altitude, sensors, missile equipment, range and maneuverability - in all characteristics, where a heavier Russian fighter has superiority,” RIA citesNews»Words Military Watch. Needless to say, such estimates quickly scattered across the Runet. “In the USA, they recognized the superiority of the Su-57 over the F-35,” is how Lenta titled her material.
However, American citizens are unlikely to hear about the shortcomings of the F-35 and the advantages of the Su-57. Despite the increased interest in the magazine from the Russian-language media, the author of the material does not remember that any of the major Western media outlets ever referred to Military Watch.
All this, of course, raises uncomfortable questions, but at the same time suggests the real origins of the “strange” publication on the F-22 and MiG-31. It remains to add that Military Watch Magazine was born relatively recently: the earliest materials are dated 2017. True, the publication considers a fairly wide range of issues and goes far beyond comparing Russian and American combat aircraft.