At the next meeting of the State Duma Committee on Defense, held in April, the fate of a unique interceptor fighter capable of hitting objects in near space was discussed. We offer to the readers excerpts from the speeches of the participants and the resolution of these parliamentary hearings (beginning in the XKUM number of the weekly MIC).
Aircraft characteristics are unique
In 1987, unique exercises were held in the north of the country. The reconnaissance and shock group consisted of A-50, a tanker plane and two experienced Su-27 and MiG-31, equipped with a system for in-flight refueling. They performed loitering in the Barents Sea right up to the North Pole and intercepting the planes of a potential enemy.
A-50 detected far-reaching targets, transmitted an indication over the radio link to the MiG-31, which carried out a supersonic throw and a supersonic interception of targets at long-range targets. After that, he left to refuel, and the Su-27 finished off a broken enemy.
The teachings showed that these two airplanes perfectly complement each other and one cannot say that one of them can perform the functions of the other. These two subjects must exist together.
The characteristics of the MiG-31 are truly unique. There were two aircraft in the world capable of intercepting in these modes: an altitude of up to twenty kilometers at speeds of up to three thousand kilometers per hour. This is the MiG-31 and its older comrade is the MiG-25.
President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly pointed out that when developing new weapons components it is necessary to look beyond the horizon. The future hub for the development of this subject is hypersound. And this is one of the signs of the sixth generation. The technologies that exist at RAC MiG and Sokol, complement each other. The preservation of production and the development of MiG-31 subjects will give us the opportunity to look into the future.
Deputy General Director - General Designer of OAO OKB im. A. S. Yakovleva "
The inevitability of punishment - protection from attack
At the beginning of my speech I want to emphasize that the Air Force needs a MiG-31, pilots love it and fly it with pleasure. His opportunities are enormous. But, unfortunately, everything in this world has a tendency to aging. Element base of the aircraft, created in 60 – 70-ies, morally and physically obsolete.
As an example, we can compare the situation with the Lockheed SR-71 - an airplane with characteristics that are even superior to the MiG-31. Nevertheless, the Americans decided that it was impossible to spend billions of dollars just to simply show how it flies.
According to preliminary data, for the resumption of production of the MiG-31 directly to the manufacturer requires 15 billion rubles, accessory companies - 10 billion. To bring the aircraft up to the modern level, it is also necessary to have at least 25 billions of rubles in OCD for the replacement of equipment, primarily navigation, weapons systems, radars. Total - about 50 billion rubles.
This money can be invested in the creation of a new, ultra-modern aircraft that will solve problems three times better than the MiG-31.
It must be understood that no country in the world can defend itself against the attack of an equal or superior enemy. However, the deterrent is the awareness of the inevitability of punishment for such an attack.
The north is open not because there is no MiG-31, but because there are no radio engineering troops there. Our army is only one million people, and to close it we must increase it to two million. Maybe 3,5 million will be required with the current equipment. Let's do it. But then, instead of 25, we will have only seven million workers, and the rest will eat up the rest of the money.
For the inevitability of punishment, we must go forward on the path of upgrading the existing fleet of aircraft and helicopters. We do it and we will do it. I don’t know who and where was spending the money before, the prosecutor’s office will figure it out, but the Air Force directs them to defense, to airplanes, helicopters and weapons.
About some numbers. Those 2,83 Mach, which previously issued this aircraft, are now unattainable. Today's limit - Mach 1,5 for one simple reason - does not stand glass. The best in Russia is not made. The second. The on-board digital computer and the 60-s elemental base on it. To change the program, to improve the characteristics is impossible - outdated. Another should be put only through OCD. All planes are stored in an open area, as a result - plating damage. And that's not all the problems.
Nevertheless, the aircraft is operated and will be upgraded in the version in which it is needed by the Air Force. From the fact that, in addition to destructive attacks, he will also be able to solve the tasks of defeating ground objects, it will not be worse for anyone. We must move forward. Only in this way can we adequately respond to anyone who tries to joke with us.
Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General
Need significant funds
Today, the Ministry of Defense has made the right decision to modernize these aircraft, and such a contract has been concluded with RAC MiG OJSC. In accordance with the agreement, work was completed with 50 MiG-31B, which were turned into MiG-31BM. This is seemingly the same, but in terms of functions and functions they are completely different planes. The next step is the implementation of the second stage of the conversion of the MiG-31BC to the MiG-31БМ. It is also roughly 40 aircraft.
What does upgrading give? These are new frontiers of interception at supersonic speeds, the use of modern weapons. The weapons control system allows you to detect air targets at a distance of 300 kilometers. The capabilities of the cockpit information control field are increasing, which makes it easier for the pilot to perform combat missions. The on-board digital computer system is being improved.
The corporation is working to increase the assigned service life of the aircraft from 20 to 28 years, and subsequently even over 30 years.
It should be remembered that this aviation complex. An airplane alone cannot live without modernization of its components. A total of 118 enterprises that are part of the cooperation in the production of this aircraft.
We have compiled a detailed list of enterprises that have ceased production of various components. Among them are those on which production can be restored, but quite a lot of money is required, and those that are abroad: in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
According to our estimates, a lot of money is needed to restore a full-fledged production of the MiG-31 - from 30 to 50 billions of rubles.
General Director of OJSC RSK MiG
Huge modernization potential
The purpose of my speech is to report true information about the situation with the propulsion system of the MiG-31 for a possible decision to resume production or modernization of the fleet of these aircraft.
First of all it should be said about the uniqueness of its engine. He is almost one and a half times bigger than his brother on the Su-27 and in two - on the MiG-29. More powerful installations only on the Tu-160 strategic bomber. But the uniqueness is not in this, but in a combination of characteristics on which it is operated.
Although the aircraft has been in service for a very long time, nothing of the kind in the world has yet been created. Today it has an assigned 1800 hours resource. This is a key point in understanding what to do with the MiG-31 fleet and how to ensure its planned modernization.
In 1993, the serial production was discontinued, and in 1997, repairs were made in Perm. Full engine repair is focused on the 218-m Aviation Repair Plant in Gatchina, and its turbo-starter - on the 570-M plant in Yeisk. All these years Aviadvigatel OJSC provided maintenance support, and resolved maintenance issues. This system is preserved and fully functional.
Increasing the designated engine resource is not easy. This requires OCD, but in the foreseeable future they are not required. We, together with representatives of the Ministry of Defense and repair plants, analyzed the entire fleet of existing engines. Today in the 1231 remfond unit (from 1497 produced). The overwhelming majority of them are still in the first half of the resource development due to the fact that the aircraft has practically not flown for the last 20 years. And the enormous residual life of these engines allows them to be operated for 30 – 40 for years, using them for upgraded or new aircraft.
There is one technical problem, which today is close to a solution, connected with the element base of electronic units standing on the engine. For its management, for the first time in the Soviet Union, an electronic computer was used, which, of course, was outdated. We have already developed a new electronic controller together with the Star design office. In the near future, a contract will be signed with Aviaremont OJSC to conduct flight tests of this unit and introduce it into the series. It needs 188 million rubles.
Capacities of the plant in Gatchina - repair of 100 engines per year. To ensure these works, additional production of spare parts must be organized in Perm. To do this, you need about 600 million and for the plant - manufacturer of units - 220 million.
Thus, the 987 engines in the repair fund that are subject to major overhaul and have a designated output of the resource (42 percent) are sufficient for flights in the next 30 years.
And to restore the production of spare parts in Perm, 15 billions declared here will not be needed, for this we need about one billion rubles and the overhaul program will be fully secured. The D-30F6 engine has a huge modernization potential.
General Designer of Aviadvigatel OJSC
Save unique glider and engine
On all the aircraft listed today - Su-27СМ3, Su-35, T-50 and MiG-31, the equipment developed at our institute is installed. The radar system "Barrier" fighter MiG-31 became the ancestor of the whole family. This is a weapon control system that includes electron beam scanning locators, 8-TK heat locator, aiming and flight indicator.
Unfortunately, it can be stated that the resumption of production of the weapon control system in the form that was laid is impossible. Why? For the element base there was a special production. But this technology is not even the previous, but the previous generation of the previous generation, which are unrecoverable. For components, for example, neither the developer nor the manufacturer of the heat finder and electromechanical aiming and flight indicator does not exist. So you can transfer for a long time.
If we talk about the resumption of production of the MiG-31, then, by analogy with the B-52, you should save the unique airframe and engine, but the whole electronic filling should be modernized. The old element base is lost, and to reproduce on a new one is OCD with all the resulting financial and temporary losses. At the same time, various options should be considered. But we must not return to the production of old, and change all the equipment to modern.
General Director of the Institute of Instrument Engineering named after V. V. Tikhomirov
Threat from the north
Discussing the fate of the unique interceptor MiG-31 aircraft, we must proceed primarily from the tasks that it must solve.
The experience of NATO's interventions against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya shows that the methods of warfare have changed in recent decades.
It is obvious that the main threat to the security of Russia in the wars of the XXI century will be represented by aerospace attack weapons using primarily cruise missiles. In this regard, a strong aerospace defense system (WKO) is required for reliable protection of the country.
Today, the Russian economy rests on oil and gas centers, which are the main sources of foreign exchange earnings in the country's budget. In this regard, our north will become one of the main objectives of the attack.
Previously, the main task of air defense was to protect industrial centers such as the Urals, the Volga region, the Central District, as well as the northern borders of our country, which are of strategic importance. Today, the domestic industry is actually destroyed. So the task of the enemy has been simplified, because there is practically nothing to bomb. The potential adversary will strike primarily at the infrastructure, at the energy facilities. A striking example is the war of NATO against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
A group of American scientists has prepared a report that bombing the whole of Russia is not necessary: there are 12 main objectives that need to be hit, and the state will be defeated. Among them Surgut GRES.
What is this power plant protected by? Nothing, for there are no air defense units nearby. There is only one small company of radio engineering troops in Khanty-Mansiysk. It is able to track objects at low altitudes no further than 50 kilometers. That is, a cruise missile will be detected only on the way to the target. The maximum that can be done in this case is to transmit a danger signal.
Is the north of our country protected at all? Suppose that several American submarine strikes, on each of which are on the Tomahawk 154, will approach our shores and produce a volley. How can we resist? Spreading C-300 and C-400 complexes there is pointless, because with all the radius of their operation such large spaces cannot be blocked.
Now only the MiG-31 is capable of solving the defense of the northern strategic direction from the means of aerospace attack. Therefore, to cover the north of our country, there is a vital need for this car.
Representatives of the Air Force said that on the approach other aircraft - PAK FA and Su-35. But Su-35 has a different purpose. This is a multifunctional fighter, whose task is primarily to gain air supremacy. PAK FA - the fifth generation aircraft. But again, the problem rests on the engine. Another 10 – 15 years may pass until he becomes a real combat force and enters the troops in the required amount.
The 122 MiG-31 available is not enough to cover the colossal Russian space. We have more than 60 thousands of kilometers of border. Over this distance, holes in the radar field are calculated in thousands of kilometers.
We now do not have other aircraft and weapons capable of fending off a potential massive strike with air and sea-based cruise missiles. Therefore, to cover the north there is a vital need for this car. We must start from this first of all, talking about the fate of the MiG-31.
However, you need to save not only this aircraft, but also the military aircraft industry as a whole. It was kept for the time being due to export deliveries. But the world-famous design bureaus of Tupolev, Ilyushin, and Yakovlev have almost faded away. Now the political leadership sets the task to create a new strategic bomber. But who will conduct development work if life in the Tupolev Design Bureau is barely warm?
Therefore, the rescue of the Sokol plant and the preservation of RSK MiG by creating new combat aircraft based on the unique MiG-31 interceptor is a strategic task of national importance. We must not allow the loss of the most valuable scientific, technical and production potential of the MiG Corporation.
Now the situation is such that Sukhoi dominates the military aviation field. Nobody argues that this is a world famous enterprise. However, the competitive environment disappears, which is very necessary to create truly breakthrough and innovative technologies.
I agree with the need to develop a virtually new aircraft based on the unique design of the MiG-31. Indeed, we should not mechanically reproduce the current aircraft, but urgently set the task of conducting research and development work on creating a new, state-of-the-art machine on its basis and immediately get ready for its mass production based on the remaining capacities of the Sokol plant.
Unfortunately, we heard from the representatives of the defense science and industry only the wailing that there were no details, the cooperation was destroyed and it was impossible to create a new aircraft. In this regard, I would like to remind you that in the 1941 year, when the Germans captured the main industrial areas of the European part of the USSR, almost all cooperation in the production of military equipment was destroyed. However, it was recreated as soon as possible in the Urals, in the Volga region, and in Western Siberia.
It is also surprising to hear the reasoning of the leadership of the Air Force about the cost of reviving the MiG-31. But there is money in the country. In the framework of government programs for the development of the aviation industry are allocated huge funds. Given the ongoing investigations of corruption in the system of the Ministry of Defense, one can hope that the money will finally reach the manufacturers.
I emphasize once again that it is necessary to talk not only about the technical and military side of the matter, but also about the long-term political program to ensure the country's defense through salvation of the scientific, technical and production potential of military aircraft manufacturing. This is just as important, if not more important, than just creating a new aircraft.
Member of the State Duma Defense Committee
Excerpts from the recommendations of the parliamentary hearings
Having considered the issues related to the current state of the MiG-31 fighter-interceptor groups of the Russian Air Force, as well as their modernization and possible production upgrades, the participants in the parliamentary hearings note: the MiG-31 continues to be one of the unique aircraft in the world.
It is designed for use in the country's air defense system, is able to carry out long patrols and fight all classes of aerodynamic targets, including small cruise missiles, helicopters and high-altitude hypersonic aircraft, strategic bombers, low-orbit satellites and spacecraft at any time of the day, difficult weather conditions.
It is practically the only aircraft that is capable of intercepting and destroying cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles flying at extremely low altitudes. Target equipment allows the use of the MiG-31 autonomously, as part of a group of aircraft of the same type, or as a leading aircraft to control the actions of fighters with less sophisticated avionics — MiG-29, Su-27, Su-30 and Su-35. The greatest combat effectiveness is achieved by group actions of four MiG-31, interconnected by information interaction through an automated control system with automatic information exchange and targeting within the group. This option of combat use allows four aircraft to control the airspace up to a thousand kilometers wide.
Later release MiG-31 - MiG-31B and all subsequent modifications are equipped with in-flight refueling system from tanker aircraft.
Today, there are no foreign analogues of the MiG-31. In their work, participants in the parliamentary hearings based on the fact that in modern conditions, despite the financial resources allocated for the rearmament of the army and fleet, our state will not be able to maintain military-strategic and military-technical parity with the leading world powers on a symmetrical basis, especially in the field of non-nuclear weapons.
An important point is the adoption of symmetric, non-standard, effective measures with minimal economic and financial costs to counter potential military threats to the security of the state and optimize military spending.
Particular attention is drawn to the recently marked trend of identifying aerospace weapons as the first and foremost both existing and prospective forms and methods of warfare.
Thanks to such a weapon, the probable adversary is able to deliver precision-coordinated high-precision strikes on virtually all targets in Russia. At the same time, it takes measures to eliminate the probable use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it. At the same time, the difficulties in creating a continuous radiation field in the country’s territory confirm the need to counterpose the potential enemy system to an effective aerospace defense system of our state with an effective aviation component.
One of these elements, which allows you to fully take a worthy place in the aerospace defense system, may be the use of combat aircraft complexes based on deeply modernized MiG-31 aircraft. With a competently carried out modernization, according to its tactical and technical parameters, it will be at least 10 – 15 years old that will surpass modern domestic and foreign analogues.
This type of aircraft has no competition in the following areas of combat use: interception, reaching the line of attack in the shortest possible time and destroying airborne, ground and surface carriers of cruise missiles, long-range radar aircraft and aviation control of strategic reconnaissance aircraft, detection of low-flying targets, unmanned aerial vehicles vehicles, cruise missiles and others, the operational deployment of air defense in the open areas, the ability to control Airspace on a wide front with a small number of aircraft, efficiently equipping with ultra-modern antenna complexes without disturbing aerodynamics thanks to a square fuselage, tracking and covering the aviation component of nuclear forces, destroying enemy low-orbit satellites, and quickly launching satellites and satellite groups weighing up to 200 kilograms into 200 orbits 800 kilometers.
At the moment, the MiG-31 is the only combat aircraft capable of providing cover for the airspace of Russia in the Arctic zone, including objects of the oil and gas industry and energy transportation systems. The production technology of the MiG-31 is the basis for the release of the creation of the production technology of hypersonic aircraft.
In this regard, the participants in the parliamentary hearings express concern that, despite the absence in the Air Force of aircraft capable of solving the full range of tasks assigned to the MiG-31, the production of aircraft of this type is almost stopped under various pretexts. Since 1994, after the completion of serial production, cooperative ties with a significant number of enterprises - suppliers of components have been lost. The element base of weapons control systems is outdated. In addition, it is planned to eliminate the technological and other infrastructure necessary for the possible resumption of work. There are no grounds for making such a decision. At the same time, the data on the absence of engines for these aircraft do not correspond to reality. In stock 244 engine with afterburner and 695 engines requiring modification.
In connection with the material presented, the participants in the parliamentary hearings prepared a number of recommendations to the government, the Military Industrial Commission, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, including on the possibility of resuming production, upgrading and stopping the disposal of MiG-31, as well as the creation of aircraft based on hypersonic technologies.