In the magazine dedicated to the MiG-31 interceptor, its combat use is given to something completely indecently small. Yes, indeed, this aircraft never fired for defeat, nevertheless its confrontation with the American high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft SR-71 is very exciting and interesting.
First, a small introduction. New interceptors began to enter service fighter aviation Air defense in 1980. In September 1983, they took up combat duty in the Far East - at the Sokol airfield (Sakhalin Island). The appearance of the MiG-31 on Sakhalin was explained by a sharp increase in tension in the region: on September 1, a Su-15 fighter was intercepted and shot down by a South Korean airline. The official version of the sensational stories We know quite well with Boeing, but so far there is no definitive clarity about what happened in the skies of Kamchatka and Sakhalin 1 September 1983 of the year. Soon after the arrival of the 31's in the Far East, the likely enemy ceased to provoke an air defense insolently. The pilots of the Fighter Aviation Regiment (IAP) based in Kamchatka, in 1987, 214 once rose to intercept real targets, in 1988, 825 times! The main opponents of the MiG-31 in this area were the SR-71, the Orion patrol P-3 and the reconnaissance RC-135.
MiG-31 has never been used against enemy air targets. An indirect proof of the recognition of the merits of the MiG-31 can be considered the decommissioning in 1989 of the expensive American high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft "Lockheed" SR-71, previously considered invulnerable to fighters of the Soviet air defense.
The capabilities of the new interceptor struck even seasoned pilots. This is how the honored test pilot of the USSR, Hero of the Soviet Union, Colonel Vladimir Nikolaevich Kandurov, recalls his participation in working out the MiG-31 in the book “Lifetime Runway”:
- How did one of the flights to test weapons with the actual destruction of four target aircraft look like?
- I sat in the cab and frankly yawned, completely unaware of what to do. We flew for half an hour with the course of 90 degrees in the most convenient mode for us in terms of speed and altitude. Somewhere ahead at low altitudes, the targets scattered along the front of 50 km were supposed to fly towards us. The broadcast was empty. Feeling that you are alone in the endless sky. “Do not worry, you are not alone,” I smiled to myself, “the navigator works from behind. Oh, he is not up to the "fools" now. " I still can not stand it and press the intercom button:
- Nick, I'm tired of sleeping, tell me how are you? What are you doing?
“I sleep,” heard the quiet voice of the navigator N. Volkogonov.
- Good deal! - I exclaimed in surprise, - Both are sleeping, and who works?
- "Barrier" works in the machine. While we sit and wait.
- I look again at the weapons console. All inclusive, Missiles are ready for launch. Another five minutes of total silence. Suddenly on the glass (indicator on the background of the windshield) appeared target mark, the signal "Attack" and the range scale.
The first - the most dangerous - to the left under 30, work, commander, - I hear the voice of my navigator.
I turn the plane over, “impose” the aiming ring on the target mark and immediately enter the launch area. Went, dear!
Immediately after the missile launch, a second target mark appears on the right. Vigorous turn. To keep the ring on target, turn into a dive. To target 40 km. Start zone starts with 30 km. In stock, seven to eight seconds, you can control the engine. “So the next two are even less dangerous, which means I will have time for maneuvers,” I calmly reason, and let the second one go. Twenty seconds later it was all over.
“Commander, all four have been shot down, we are turning home, we have nothing more to do here,” Nicholas’s pleased voice is heard in the headphones.
- Yes, - I answer, - everything is so simple that it is even disgusting.
At one of the flight forums, it was purely by chance that the real story of the MiG-31 pilot was unearthed about how he flew out to intercept and simulate the SR-71 attack. These are the cases that need to be printed in a magazine!
For air defense pilots, in those distant days, carrying combat duty in the North and the Far East, getting up from the database on foreign planes was a fairly regular thing. In the area of the Kola Peninsula, anti-submarine aircraft of NATO countries were constantly spinning, waiting for our submarines to leave the base. RC-135 reconnaissance planes arrived if any event was being prepared in the area, such as: any exercises fleet or aviation, missile launches at firing ranges, experimental launches of our cruise missiles or ballistic missile launches from submarines to the Kura firing range (Kamchatka), change of radio frequencies and radio data from airborne, control, crew, installation or launch of some new radars or radio relay stations, etc. .d. etc. The SR-71 flew regularly and on schedule. There were two of his flight routes - the right loop and the left loop. What caused this (the direction of its flight along our borders) is not completely clear. He took off from an airfield in England, refueled over the Norwegian Sea and began dispersal with a climb. He went out on his route in a loop at a speed of 3000-3300km / h and altitudes from 20000 to 24000m. If I twisted the left loop, then I walked along the Kola Peninsula, Kanin Nose, Father Kolguyev and began to twist the left loop along Novaya Zemlya with a turn towards Norway, and then decreased, refueled and sat down again in England. If he twisted the right loop, he went to the area of Novaya Zemlya and a right U-turn, past Fr. Kolguyev, Kanin’s nose, along Kola went to Norway, then refueled and sat in England. At this time, all of our air defense systems (air defense missiles, RTV and fighter aircraft) were alerted No. 1, all detection and destruction equipment were turned on, and aviation from different airfields flew to the point at which (if suddenly at some that is why the state border will be violated by the scout SR-71), it will be very likely to hit the offender, and his wreckage will fall into the territorial waters of the USSR. But the SR-71 never crossed the border, flew over the "ribbon" and regularly took direction on all the air defense systems that worked on it, and it was crammed with reconnaissance. to the eyeballs!
Once there was a case when something happened during the flight of the SR-71 along the right loop. Most likely there was something with his engine, when he suddenly stopped his assignment and fell from his “ceiling” onto the train, which allowed him (probably) to fly on one engine. They intercepted the intense radio communication between the crew and the control point in Norway, where he safely sat down.
I was lifted five times from the Talagi airfield on SR-71, and then I was transferred for further service to Elizovo (Kamchatka), since This regiment began to retrain on the MiG-31 and needed instructors, pilots for combat duty, the flight of aircraft from the factory, etc.
In Kamchatka, I also had to fly a lot from the database - according to the Orion P-3, RC-135 and SR-71. One of these cases, I now tell.
He climbed into his flight book, found what he was looking for. 12 February 1988 of the Year - "Combat sortie on SR-71". This "Black Bird" (or as it is sometimes called the "Blackbird") flew to Kamchatka on a schedule and the flight was quite routine, everything was calculated to seconds: - it took readiness at a certain time, took off at a certain point, afterburner, dialing, reaching the point of intended launch and waiting - can it break the boundary? But he apparently had good computers - he was never wrong.
Everything has always been a once and for all established scheme. And they, "foe", got used to it. But somewhere in our ranks, they decided to check the adversary for “lice” and a new departure scheme was invented. Usually, the MiG-31 was waiting for him at the PPS over Kamchatka, and according to the new scheme two planes flew out - one in the usual way, and the second went far into the Pacific Ocean (since the SR-71 always went to the coast of Kamchatka at an altitude of 22-24 km at right angles, and then left turn, went to Okinawa, almost striking along the "ribbon"). The navigators on the ground calculated everything up to seconds, when and what to do, so that the SR-71 passed over the MiG-31 flying at high speed and altitude on its route "and came (SR-71) to the starting point of its turn at the most favorable launch range missiles with MiG-31 in the ZPS, if the SR-71 suddenly smears on the “ribbon.” Here it will be ...... from two sides. We picked up a couple - one went deep into Kamchatka as usual, and I, along the new route, to the point where the pivot began in the Pacific Ocean. Everything turned out as it should - accelerated, scored 20 000, M = 2.83, I listened to commands from the manual. I hear - it catches up. When with They said that: - “Aim above you, above two thousand,” made a roll, because the lantern and the “pot” on the head (GS-6А) interfere with the upward view, but I didn’t see it right away, rather I looked not where it turned out to be. At first I noticed some kind of glare and a very short inversion, and only then I saw SR-71 itself. It was not very visible - only a silhouette was dark against the dark sky background, it overtook me quite briskly (its speed at such flights were somewhere 3300 km / h) and somewhere at a distance from the gearbox to it 10 km, I say to the navigator: - “Give me radiation!” Seconds two or three seconds later second, they reach "unspecified" amount of kilometers to his usual design point, the "Blackbird" abruptly began turning left from Kamchatka and drove off into the Pacific Ocean, instead of having to go the usual route to Okinawa. Probably the equipment for detecting the radar of the radar and warnings about putting it on ATTACK was in order, and the power of our radar at such a distance so “lupanul” on its ultra-sensitive reconnaissance radio equipment, which can be seen further playing cat and mouse and risking he didn't want something. And the situation for him developed not according to the established and therefore unfamiliar scenario.
It was all seconds, and we didn’t need anything more, because the SR-71 was in neutral waters, there was nothing to do with it (let alone shoot at it). He did nothing wrong, did not violate the borders - he just flew here, to this TM (point to sea) just out of curiosity and nothing more. Yes, and I, too, did nothing wrong - just by turning on the sight, I looked at him - where he is relative to me and what he is doing at this second. And the fact that the “Attack” command caught fire in my display on the windshield was not my fault, this is how the MiG-31 sight works — I saw the capture and the Attack. Well, the fact that he so drastically changed his flight mission, well, well, maybe he, too, wanted to, maybe he decided to just cut off the corner in order to quickly fly to his base, to Japan.
What happened to him next, I do not know. I had to build an approach, as I didn't have much fuel left.
That's how I once had a chance to scare away the vaunted Thrush.
Now I remember that after this something suspiciously long they did not fly to us in Kamchatka, but then everything entered its course, and again they sometimes began to fly in and check our duty personnel.