In the modern Russian army, the MiG-31 fighter-interceptor is not just in demand, but is a key element of the modern anti-aircraft defense system of the country. In connection with the exacerbation of the struggle for Arctic resources and the changing international situation, it has become necessary to strengthen the northern borders of Russia.
However, despite the interest of the Russian Ministry of Defense, it was very difficult to resume production of the MiG-31: time and financial costs were too great, the production chain that had existed since Soviet times was destroyed. Therefore, before the Nizhny Novgorod aircraft factory "Sokol", as the only manufacturer of these aircraft, the task was set: to carry out a quality overhaul and carry out work on their modernization.
The aircraft that arrived at the overhaul and modernization, literally disassembled to screw.
Specialists of NAZ "Sokol" carry out its fault detection, repair, paint, install new purchased components, assemble it again and transport it to the factory airfield, from where it returns to the system after testing. At the same time, the combat capabilities of aircraft increase substantially, mainly due to the installation of new weapons.
The MiG-31 is a long-range interceptor, which was created to protect air borders in areas with a limited radar field. It is able to work autonomously, as well as to block the front at a distance of up to 1000 km with a group of four aircraft interacting with each other. These tasks, except for him, are currently not performed by any other aircraft.
Vladimir Kirasirov, the first deputy technical director of the NAZ “Sokol”, is responsible for the modernization of the MiG-31:
“We first encountered the specifics of repair work in the 90s, when we made the first comprehensive bulletin on the MiG-31 in connection with the new weapon system. Then about four dozen vehicles were refined. We partially performed repair work - eliminated the visible cracks and dents. "
“By the time the first contract was signed with the Ministry of Defense for the modernization of the MiG-31, we had mastered such a line of business as a serial overhaul. The first MiG-31 for modernization came to the plant in 2007 year. OKRovskie work on them was conducted under the guidance of specialists of the corporation’s engineering center MiG ", and then, when the aircraft went into series, the factory specialists developed the technical conditions, the design and operational documentation.
At the same time, NSC "Sokol" is the main developer of documentation for the implementation of repair production, and all aircraft repair plants involved in the execution of the contract on the MiG-31, use our documentation, adapted for themselves. "
“When we started doing this in the 2013 year, only the names of non-reproducible products, systems, we had about 41 positions. And this list included, for example, products such as the KN-25 navigation system, which itself includes more than 40 blocks. Now there are 7-8 left behind such products. At the same time, the vast majority of them have a road map, so we gradually solve this problem. "
"Within the import substitution program, components of Ukrainian production are changing. This list is not long, this year we will be able to replace them. So, at present, only a few components from Kazakhstan remain in the list of non-Russian production PKIs."
"Organic glass, from which the lights were made before, is no longer produced, and their service life has already expired. The glass breaks, turns yellow, because of which visibility is seriously deteriorated, and it no longer has its original properties. Today we are installing new lights made of silicate triplex.
This is a real glass, it is more expensive, but it is stronger and has better properties than organic glass. Such glasses used to be placed only on spacecraft. Now, after installing them on the plane, the MiG-31 is again able to fly at any speed laid down in the design. "
MiG-31 today is one of the unique examples of long-lived aircraft. For more than 35 years of service, he not only did not lose his combat potential, but also increased it through deep modernization. Created by OKB them. A.I. Mikoyan in the early 1970s of the last century, he still provides Russian aviation parity in arctic latitudes.
In total, Sokol NAZ has launched more than 450 MiG-31 interceptors, of which around 350 are still in service with the Russian VKS.