The Arctic is rich not only in deposits of energy resources: almost half of the world's fish products are harvested in the region. The development of merchant shipping along the Northern Sea Route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans also creates enormous economic prospects as ice melts. In the Arctic zone are the most important enterprises of the Russian defense industry, the base of the North fleet and military infrastructure facilities. In addition, the state border of our country passes through the Arctic Ocean for 20 thousand kilometers.
In 2008, the President of Russia approved the “Fundamentals of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the period up to 2020 of the year and further perspective”. Taking into account the country's course towards a permanent naval presence in the Arctic and the protection of its status as a leading Arctic power, President Vladimir Putin called for special attention to be paid to the deployment of military units and infrastructure in the Arctic.
At the same time, the state of Russia's aerospace defense is a matter of serious concern. Parliamentary hearings held by the State Duma Defense Committee together with the Communist Party faction in April and November 2013 on the state and problems of improving the combat capabilities of the Aerospace Defense Forces, as well as on the use of aviation complexes MiG-31 in the East Kazakhstan region showed the presence of serious problems in the direction of ensuring the national security of Russia.
The most important of them is the collapse of the aviation component of the aerospace defense system, which is based on supersonic long-range interceptor fighters MiG-31. Under various pretexts, these planes are hastily destroyed.
Best in all characteristics
An analysis of the open military programs of the leading countries of the world suggests that today there is no world in the next 10 – 15 years there will be no aviation complex comparable to this aircraft in speed, climb, practical ceiling and other flight performance, as well as effectiveness in a given interval of its combat use.
The MiG-31 is designed to intercept and destroy cruise missiles in the entire range of altitudes and speeds of flight accessible to aerodynamic aircraft (including cruise missiles performing low-altitude flight in the rounding mode of the terrain), low-flying satellites, stealth planes, and other air targets any types at extremely small, small, medium and high altitudes, day and night, in simple and complex meteorological conditions, when the enemy uses active and passive radar interference, as well as false thermal targets d.
It is a high-wing with a trapezoidal wing, two-tail fin and a full-circle stabilizer. To increase stability, it has two additional ventral keels. Due to the high heating of the aircraft skin when flying at supersonic speeds, the airframe design is made mainly of heat-resistant steels and titanium alloys (50 percent - stainless steel, 16 - titanium, 33 - aluminum and one percent - other construction materials).
The aircraft has a tricycle landing gear, the nose rack is equipped with two pneumatics, the main pillars have a two-wheeled trolley design. Sash niches main racks are used as brake flaps. To reduce the mileage of the aircraft when landing in the rear fuselage put the brake parachute container.
The radar "Zaslon" installed on the aircraft provides the ability to detect air targets at a distance of 200 kilometers, tracking a strategic bomber class target - 200 kilometers, a fighter class - 120 kilometers.
It is also possible to detect small targets against the background of the ground, which makes it possible to use a fighter to fight cruise missiles. This provides for simultaneous tracking of up to ten targets and simultaneous guidance of guided missiles at four targets.
For the hidden search and tracking of targets, a heat finder can also be used, the sensors of which are placed in a semi-submerged position under the nose of the fuselage and are pushed into the operating position in flight.
The aircraft is equipped with a modern complex of radio navigation equipment, a digital closed communication system and a data indication system on the windshield of the pilot's cabin. To intercept small-sized targets, it is armed with a built-in six-barreled cannon GSH-23-6 caliber 23 millimeter (ammunition - 260 ammo, rate of fire - 8000 rds / min). The gun is installed under the fuselage and in a non-combat position is covered with a sash-fairing.
The main armament consists of long-range guided air-to-air missiles. Usually, four missiles are suspended in a semi-submerged position under the fuselage and two on pylons under the wing consoles. These can be P-27, P-30, P-33, P-40Т, P-40D, P-60М missiles.
The power plant on the MiG-31 uses powerful high-efficiency dual-circuit turbojet engines D-30F6, which develop thrust at 15 500 afterburner kilograms. The supply of fuel in the internal fuel tanks is 16 350 liters, fuel tanks with a total capacity of 4000 liters can be suspended. The MiG-31B modification aircraft is equipped with an air refueling system.
The MiG-31 is capable of crossing the sound barrier in horizontal flight and in the climb mode, while most supersonic airplanes pass the speed M = 1 in a gentle dive. Moreover, the MiG-31 can reach supersonic at medium and high altitudes without switching on the boost. But this property is believed to have only fifth-generation fighter.
At low altitudes, a supersonic flight is comfortable for the MiG-31 pilot. The aircraft in this mode is quite stable and not prone to the bumpiness common to vehicles whose wing is optimized for subsonic air combat. For example, the same Su-27 (as well as MiG-29, F-15, F / A-18, Rafale, etc.) can fly only a few minutes at high transonic speeds near the ground.
Su-35 in terms of aerodynamics differs little from Su-27 and, therefore, by the climb rate at high speeds and the ability to pass the sound barrier is inferior to the MiG-31. You can put on a plane a perfect control system, equip long-range air-to-air missiles, but for a real interceptor this is not enough - the interceptor must have the ability to reach the line of attack in the shortest possible time. The T-50, like the Su-35C, is more focused on aerial combat than on interception.
All modern fighters (except fifth-generation airplanes) are not fully supersonic, since their flight time for supersonic is limited to 5 – 15 minutes due to all sorts of limitations on the airframe design. The duration of the flight of the MiG-31 supersonic limited only by the fuel supply.
History machines and application
In 1977, test pilot Alexander Fedotov set an absolute world record for flight altitude on the MiG-31 - 37 650 meters. In total, 29 world records are set on this type of aircraft.
Production of the MiG-31 began in 1981, at the Sokol plant in the city of Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod). By the end of 1994, more than 500 of such machines were built, after which their production was curtailed.
The appearance of the MiG-31 in parts led to a significant change in the tactics of the behavior of foreign aviation and the air situation in general in those areas where combat aircraft had repeatedly violated Soviet airspace, allowed themselves to "play on the nerves" of both air defense and civilian crews and military courts.
In the course of numerous exercises, the tactics of group actions of four MiG-31s, interconnected by encrypted communication channels, exchanging information and targeting individual aircraft belonging to the group, were tested. This tactic allows a group of four MiG-31 aircraft to control the airspace with a length of up to a thousand kilometers along the front. It is also possible to use the MiG-31 as a leader to coordinate the actions of interceptor fighters with less powerful electronic equipment.
Target equipment of the aircraft and weapons provide detection and destruction of air targets at ranges up to 200 kilometers, depending on the angle under which the attack is carried out, and the effective reflecting surface of the target. The MiG-31 is equipped with data transmission equipment (ADF), which allows for the exchange of information between interceptors within a detachment, between leading detachment aircraft, and between leading and ground control gears in real time in an automatic (without the intervention of a navigator) mode.
In practice, this means a partial secrecy of combat use. Quite often, the enemy detects the attacking aircraft not by switching on its own on-board radar for irradiation, but by fixing the radar signal of the attacking aircraft. In the case of an attack by a detachment or a pair of MiG-31, one interceptor can search for a target using radar, and another (or others) can launch missiles. Thus, the enemy remains for some time in the dark, from where and when the rocket arrives, and may not have time to interfere or perform an anti-missile maneuver.
Thanks to the ADF, the enemy’s anti-missile maneuvers are easily neutralized. The presence of an ADF in combination with a perfect Zaslon radar allows the MiG-31 to destroy jamming planes with a high probability. In most cases, interference is placed directionally - on a working radar. To interfere with the four radars operating in unison is more difficult, if only because of the need to increase the transmission power of the interference by four times. In practice, the transmission power of interference does not increase, but the effective range of jamming decreases, and the operation of the MIG-31 radar at different frequencies makes it necessary to further reduce the power of the interfering signal due to the need to expand the transmission frequency range. It is more difficult to track the transition of working radar from one frequency to another in the case of four interceptors - the crews have a time during which the interference does not work. The time is seconds, but they are enough for a successful launch of the P-33. Finally, the coordinates of the jammer can be determined by simple direction finding from four MiG-31, and then - the options for hitting the target can be different.
The jammer is the goal of the highest priority, since such an aircraft is capable of not only disrupting attacks, but also that the most important thing is to hide the battle order of strike aircraft. The destruction of the jammer is the first step towards the destruction of the entire group of enemy aircraft. In our Air Force, such a task can effectively be performed only by the MiG-31.
In the course of the design work, a number of modifications of the production aircraft were created, significantly increasing its characteristics:
MiG-31B - interceptor fighter with refueling in the air;
MiG-31D - single fighter with anti-satellite missile;
MiG-31F (E) - a multi-purpose front-line fighter;
The MiG-31E is a long-range interceptor fighter.
Work on the deep modernization of the MiG-31 interceptor, launched in 1984, led to the creation of the MiG-31М - an upgraded fighter-interceptor with new onboard radioelectronic equipment, engine and armament, which reliably intercept invisible aircraft and cruise missiles flying on small and super-light heights. It became the pinnacle of the development of military aviation in the USSR, a number of information about it is still of a closed nature. On the performance indicators of combat effectiveness of the MiG-31M today in military units and do not dream.
The advantages of the MiG-31M over other fighter aircraft of the world:
MiG-31M at a maximum speed ahead of all such planes of the world by at least 500 kilometers per hour;
the maximum combat load is six tons more than that of the MiG-31;
the suspension of the P-37 missiles on the MiG-31M is semi-submerged and practically does not degrade the aerodynamics of the aircraft, which makes it possible to reach the maximum estimated speed of 3000 kilometers per hour and the height of 20 – 22 km, and also increases the range in supersonic mode;
for other fighter planes with these or similar missiles, the maximum speed is no more than 2000 kilometers per hour and three to five kilometers less in height, with the result that the energy given to the rocket when launching from such a carrier is less than that of the MiG-Z1M three times, which significantly reduces the range of the missile;
in a duel situation, this makes it possible to destroy enemy planes without the risk of their own destruction due to the greater range of missiles launched from a greater height and with greater speed.
Turned out not needed
At the Sokol aircraft factory in the second half of the 80-s, the installation batch of the MiG-31M was built in the amount of six prototypes. In March, 1992-2 at the Machulishchi airbase near Minsk MiG-31M was shown to the military-political leadership of Russia and some CIS countries. In April, the Mikoyan Design Bureau received a telegram from the Russian president with congratulations both to the company itself and to its allied companies involved in the creation of the MiG-1994M, regarding the successful completion of the tests. I had in mind the launch from this aircraft of a rocket, which flawlessly hit the target at a distance of more than 31 kilometers, which is still unavailable to any interceptor in the world. In August, the car 300, briefly appeared at the air show "MAKS-1995" in Zhukovsky and caused excellent responses.
But Russia 90-s such a plane was not needed. MiG-31M did not go to the series. Production of other machines of this type was also stopped. In addition, the shares of the Perm Engine Company (PMZ), which produced engines for it, found themselves in the possession of the Americans - the plant stopped producing such power plants.
From 500 produced machines to date, in the ranks left about a hundred. At the same time, one of the reasons for the cessation of production and modernization of the MiG-31 is the lack of unique high-powered D-30F6 engines developed specifically for this aircraft by the Aviadvigatel OJSC design bureau and previously produced by the Perm Engine Company.
Our audit showed that the data on the absence of engines do not correspond to reality. It turned out that the PMZ and storage bases contain over 600 of such engines, the technical condition of which, after reconditioning, will allow upgrading and manufacturing at least 300 of this type of aircraft with the provision of the operating life provided for by the technical parameters for a period of 15 – 20 years. At the Sokol aircraft building plant in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and at the aircraft repair factories, the production facilities, technological infrastructure, personnel and documentation necessary for the resumption of work have been preserved. According to specialists, all this will reduce the time and total production costs for the restoration of much-needed long-range interceptors to protect the aerospace boundaries by more than a third.
In 1997, work began on upgrading the MiG-31 fighter-interceptor into a multi-purpose MiG-31BM aircraft, which has significantly increased combat capabilities and carries high-precision weapon to defeat both air and ground targets. Due to the modernization of on-board radio-electronic equipment and weapons, the efficiency of the MiG-31BM increased by a factor of 31 compared to the MiG-2,6.
The MiG-31BM radar is capable of detecting typical aerial targets at almost twice the distance. The detection range of aerial targets increased to 320 kilometers. During the tests, the possibility of destroying enemy aircraft in a long-range missile battle at a distance of the order of 280 kilometers was demonstrated, which is currently unavailable to any foreign fighter. Airborne radar complex? The MiG-31BM is capable of tracking up to ten air targets, six of which can be simultaneously fired at with Р-33С or Р-37 missiles. The possibility of intercepting targets flying at a speed six times the speed of sound has been achieved, and other characteristics of the complex have been improved. State tests of the modification of the MiG-31BM complex were completed in 2012 year.
It is appropriate to recall the modification of the MiG-XNUMHD in the variant of the carrier of an anti-satellite missile. After the collapse of the USSR, work on this subject ceased. The resumption of this program at a new technological and scientific level can turn an aircraft into an important element of anti-missile and anti-space defense.
It should be borne in mind that the MiG-31 aviation complex with the in-flight refueling system and its unique ability to “collect” radar information about the air situation, exchange it with other aircraft, control the weapon, like no other modern fighter, is suitable for solving the tasks of escorting strategic missile carriers of long-range aviation and overcoming the enemy's air defense. In order to realize the fullest possible combat capabilities of the MiG-31 while escorting long-range bombers, one should also think about the mutual exchange of data between strategic missile carriers, tanker aircraft and fighter jets. It will already be an aviation complex consisting of carriers of nuclear weapons, their cover and support forces in the air.
Based on the above and other available data, it can be stated that the statements of many aviation specialists about the uniqueness of the MiG-31 are based on a real basis. A number of key flight performance of the aircraft and its already created modifications, neither today nor in the next decade, will most likely not be surpassed in the complex either in Russia or abroad by the following parameters:
1. Supersonic cruising flight - V = 2500 km / h (2,32 M), maximum speed - V = 3000 km / h (2,82 M). For information: at T-50, the speed of a supersonic cruise flight is expected to be no more than 1800 km / h, Su-35 can only perform a short-term (about 15 minutes) supersonic flight at speeds up to 2500 km / h.
2. Load capacity - nine to ten tons (Su-35, T-50 - about eight).
3. Overcoming the sound barrier with climb (Su-35, T-50 can not).
4. Static ceiling - kilometer 20,6 (Su-35 - km 18, T-50 - km 20), dynamic ceiling - 25 kilometers.
It should be noted that the maximum speed and ceiling of the MiG-31 surpasses not only the Russian Su-35C and T-50, but also foreign aircraft F-22, F-35, Typhoon and Rafale.
According to experts, MiG-31 aircraft will be out of competition for at least the next 15 years when performing the following tasks:
interception (reaching the line of attack in the shortest possible time) and the destruction of air, ground and surface carriers of cruise missiles;
detection and destruction of low-flying targets (UAVs, cruise missiles, etc.);
operational deployment of air defense in open areas;
efficient equipment with ultramodern antenna complexes without disturbing aerodynamics thanks to the “square” fuselage;
escort and cover the aviation component of the nuclear triad (strategic rocket carriers);
the destruction of enemy satellites, the operational launch of satellites and satellite groups weighing up to 200 kilograms into 200 – 800 orbit kilometers (MiG-31D, MiG-31С, MiG-31I, the Ishim project);
Only one aircraft in the world — the MiG-31 — is potentially capable of accelerating to the minimum speed necessary for launching a GZLA (without a special rocket accelerator). According to experts, it is possible to transport two or three combat GZLA weighing 1,2 – 1,5 tons. In this case, the booster level is not required, so that the range of such a combat GZLA can grow two to three times depending on the size and weight of the combat unit.
Estimated by aviation specialists, military scientists and experts, the MiG-31, possessing a huge modernization potential, is the most promising to consider it as a base when solving the tasks of the aerospace defense, strategic reconnaissance, long-range strike aircraft, operational means of launching small satellites to near-earth orbits. for various purposes, etc. This is confirmed by the numerous works of the 2 Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the National Research University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Research Institute of Civil Agencies.
Considering the above, in order to increase the effectiveness of the aerospace defense system, it seems expedient to make a decision to start a new development project on the creation of a new model of the MiG-31 aircraft and to include in the State Armaments Program on 2016 – 2025 a section on development of the promising aircraft - the long-range interception complex MiG-31 for solving problems of aerospace defense ". Given the new materials technology, the development of the engine, avionics, the combat effectiveness of this machine can be very high.
In addition, I think it is necessary to modernize the existing fleet of MiG-31 aircraft before adopting the new aircraft with the best aircraft performance and combat capabilities. The existing MiG-31М machines and engines for them should be used as prototypes and flying laboratories for aerodynamic studies, tests of propulsion systems, new structural materials, testing of onboard systems, combat systems, etc.
Such solutions can ensure the delivery to the Armed Forces of Russia of a unique, unmatched combat complex for the fulfillment of the tasks of the aerospace defense in a relatively short period.