Military Wiki
MiG-25PU two-seat trainer
Role Interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB
First flight 6 March 1964
Introduction 1970
Status Limited service
Primary users Russian Air Force
Algerian Air Force
Syrian Air Force
Military of Turkmenistan
Produced 1964-1984
Number built 1,186[1]
Developed into Mikoyan MiG-31

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-25) (NATO reporting name: Foxbat) is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. It was designed by the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau. The first prototype flew in 1964, and the aircraft entered into service in 1970. It has a top speed of Mach 2.83 (as high as Mach 3.2, but at risk of significant damage to the engines), and features a powerful radar and four air-to-air missiles.

When first seen in reconnaissance photography, the large wing planform suggested an enormous and highly maneuverable fighter, at a time when U.S. design theories were also evolving towards higher maneuverability due to combat performance in the Vietnam War. The appearance of the MiG-25 sparked serious concern in the West and prompted dramatic increases in performance for the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle then under development in late 1960s. The capabilities of the MiG-25 were better understood in 1976 when Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected in a MiG-25 to the United States via Japan. It turned out that the weight of the aircraft necessitated large wings.

Production of the MiG-25 series ended in 1984 after completion of 1,190 aircraft. A symbol of the Cold War, the MiG-25 flew with Soviet allies and former Soviet republics, remaining in limited service in Russia and several other nations. It is the second fastest and second highest-flying military aircraft ever fielded after the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft.[2]

Design and development


During the Cold War, Soviet Air Defence Forces, PVO (not to be confused with Soviet Air Force, VVS) was given the task of strategic air defense of the USSR. In the decades after World War II, this meant not only dealing with accidental border violations, but more importantly defending the vast airspace of the USSR against US reconnaissance aircraft and strategic bombers carrying free-fall nuclear bombs. The performance of these types of aircraft was steadily improved. Overflights by the very high altitude American Lockheed U-2 in the late 1950s revealed a need for higher altitude interceptor aircraft than currently available.[3]

The subsonic Boeing B-47 Stratojet and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers were followed by the Mach 2-capable Convair B-58 Hustler, with the even faster North American B-70 Valkyrie on the drawing board. A major upgrade in the PVO defence system was required, and at the start of 1958 a requirement was issued for manned interceptors capable of reaching 3,000 km/h and heights of up to 27 km (88,583 ft). Mikoyan and Sukhoi responded.[4]

YE-152 and YE-152M experimental interceptor

The Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB had been working on a series of interceptors during the second half of the 1950s: the I-1, I-3U, I-7U, I-75, Ye-150, Ye-150A, Ye-152, Ye-152A, Ye-152P, and Ye-152M. The Ye-150 was noteworthy because it was built specifically to test the Tumansky R-15 engine, two of which would later be used for the MiG-25. This led to Ye-152, alternatively known as Ye-166, which set several world records.[5] The Ye-152M (converted from one of the two Ye-152 aircraft) was intended to be the definite heavy interceptor design. But before it was finished, the PVO had selected the Tupolev Tu-128. As the work on the MiG-25 was well under way, the single-engine Ye-152M was abandoned.

Designing a new interceptor

Work on the new Soviet interceptor that became the MiG-25 started in mid-1959,[6] a year before Soviet intelligence learned of the American Mach 3 A-12 reconnaissance aircraft.[7] It is not clear if the design was influenced by the American A-5 Vigilante.[6]

The design bureau studied several possible layouts for the new aircraft. One had the engines located side-by-side, as on the MiG-19. The second had a stepped arrangement with one engine amidships, with exhaust under the fuselage, and another in the aft fuselage. The third project had an engine arrangement similar to that of the English Electric Lightning, with two engines stacked vertically. Option two and three were both rejected because the size of the engines meant any of them would result in a very tall aircraft which would complicate maintenance.[6]

The idea of placing the engines in underwing nacelles was also rejected because of the dangers of any thrust asymmetry during flight. Having decided on engine configuration, there was thought of giving the machine variable-sweep wings and a second crew member, a navigator. Variable geometry would improve maneuverability at subsonic speed, but at the cost of decreased fuel tank capacity. Because the reconnaissance aircraft would operate at high speed and high altitude the idea was soon dropped. Another interesting but impractical idea was to improve the field performance using two RD36-35 lift-jets. Vertical takeoff and landing would allow for use of damaged runways during wartime and was studied on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The problem has always been that engines dedicated to vertical lift do not contribute with any power in horizontal flight, and occupy space in the airframe needed for fuel. The MiG interceptor would need all the fuel it could get, so the idea was abandoned.[8]

Ye-155R3 Reconnaissance prototype with a 5,280 litre drop tank under the belly, 1964

The first prototype was a reconnaissance variant, designated "Ye-155-R1", that made its first flight on 6 March 1964.[9] It had some characteristics that were unique to that prototype, and some of these were visually very evident: the wings had fixed wingtip tanks (600 litre capacity) to which small winglets were attached for stability purposes, but when it was found fuel sloshing around in the tanks caused vibrations they were eliminated. The aircraft also had attachments for movable foreplanes, canards, to help with pitch control at high speed (provisions for canards had previously been installed, but not used, on the Ye-152P.)[8][10]

The first flight of the interceptor prototype, "Ye-155-P1", took place on 9 September 1964.[11] Development of the MiG-25, which represented a major step forward in Soviet aerodynamics, engineering and metallurgy, took several more years to complete.[11][12]

On 9 July 1967, the new aircraft was first shown to the public at the Domodedovo air show, with four prototypes (three fighters and a reconnaissance aircraft) making a flypast.[13]

Record breaker

The Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau soon realized that the performance of the new aircraft gave it great potential to set new flight records. In addition to their normal duties, the prototypes Ye-155-P1, Ye-155-R1, Ye-155-R3 were made lighter by removing some unneeded equipment, and were used for these attempts. Under Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) classification the Ye-155 type belonged to class C1 (III), which specifies jet-powered land planes with unlimited maximum take-off weight. Records set included:

  • The first claim was for world speed records with no payload and payloads of 1,000 and 2,000 kilograms. Test pilot Alexander Fedotov reached an average speed of 2,319.12 km/h over a 1,000 km circuit in 16 March 1965.[11]
  • For pure speed, with no payload, test pilot Mikhail M. Komarov averaged 2,981.5 km/h over a 500 km closed circuit on 5 October 1967.[11] On the same day A. Fedotov reached an altitude of 29,977 metres (98,350 ft) with a 1,000 kilogram payload.[14] The MiG eventually became the first aircraft to go higher than 35,000 metres (115,000 ft).[14]
  • Time to height records were recorded on 4 June 1973 when Boris A. Orlov climbed to 20,000 m in 2 min 49.8 sec. The same day, Pyotr M. Ostapenko reached 25,000 m in 3 min 12.6 sec and 30,000 m in 4 min 3.86 sec.[14]
  • On 25 July 1973, A. Fedotov reached 35,230m with 1,000 kg payload, and 36,240 m with no load (an absolute world record).[14] In the thin air, the engines flamed out and the aircraft coasted on in a ballistic trajectory by inertia alone. At the apex the speed had dropped to 75 km/h.
  • A few years later, on 31 August 1977, "Ye-266M" flown by MiG OKB Chief Test Pilot Alexander V. Fedotov, set the recognized absolute altitude record for a jet aircraft under its own power.[15] He reached 37,650 metres (123,520 ft) at Podmoskovnoye, USSR in zoom climb (the absolute altitude record is different from the record for sustained altitude in horizontal flight). The aircraft was actually a MiG-25RB re-engined with the powerful R15BF2-300. It had earlier been part of the program to improve the aircraft's top speed that resulted in the MiG-25M prototype.[6]

In all 29 records were claimed, of which seven were all-time world records for time to height, altitudes of 20,000 m and higher, and speed. Several records still stand.[6]

Technical description

Because of the thermal stresses incurred in flight above Mach 2, the Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB had difficulties choosing what materials to use for the aircraft. They had to use E-2 heat-resistant plexiglass for the canopy, and high-strength stainless steel for the wings and fuselage. Using titanium rather than steel would have been ideal, but it was expensive and difficult to work. The problem of cracks in welded titanium structures with thin walls could not be solved, so the heavier nickel steel was used instead. It cost far less than titanium and allowed for welding, along with heat resistant seals.[6] The MiG-25 was constructed from 80% nickel steel alloy, 11% aluminium, and 9% titanium.[16] The steel components were formed by a combination of spot-welding, automatic machine welding and hand arc welding methods.

Initially the interceptor stood radar the TL-25 «Smerch-A» product «720»)developed for the interceptors Tu-128. After the hijacking of the plane in Japan, the Government issued a Decree (November 4, 1976), in accordance with which urgently prepared a new weapons system and a new radar «With Sapphire-25». Also the aircraft:

Automatic control system SAU 155П1 (interceptor) or SAU 155Р1 (scout): navigation system «Peleng-D (ETC, DM)»; heat radar 26Ш-1; корекция radio - guidance system «Lazur» (for interceptor); direction finder ARC-10; altimeter great heights RV-18 (RV-19); SPO Sirena-3M» or LO 06 «Birch»; control system air intake СРВМу-2A; system range radionavigation RSBN-6C «coral»; marker radio MCI-56П; intercom SPU-7; the Respondent CO-63B; system of air signals SVS-MO-5; voice informer RI-65; voice recorder MS-61 and others On late production was installed SEC «rainbow».

All interceptors installed «Polet-1I,» consisting of the electronic systems of navigation and landing, курсовертикали, air signals and systems of the automatic flight control. The spies were established: photographic equipment And 70 or A-72 station surveillance Cube-3M», radar side view «Sabre», the station of radio reconnaissance «Virazh» or «Pitch».

In 1969 at the Gorky aircraft plant started serial production of MiG-25P, which were officially adopted by the PVO aviation in 1970, and in 1978, began production of the MiG-25 PD equipped with pulse-Doppler radar «Sapphire-25» and thermal radar TP-23. After a year earlier built MiG-25P refined to the level of MiG-25ПД (these machines were designated MiG-25 ELVs). Armament interceptor includes four supersonic (M>5) UR great range R-40T (R-40TD) with thermal homing head and P-40P (R-40RD) with semi-active radar guidance system (maximum launch range, on altitudinal goal on a collision course - 35–60 km). Under the fuselage can suspended fuel tank.

If necessary, could attack at a ground[17] the goals from a height of 20 000 meters at a speed 2300 km per hour and distance of several tens of км (500 kg bomb).*

The MiG-25 was theoretically capable of a maximum speed of Mach 3+ and a ceiling of 90,000 ft (27,000 m). Its high speed was problematic: although sufficient thrust was available to reach Mach 3.2, a limit of Mach 2.83 had to be imposed as the turbines tended to overspeed and overheat at higher speeds, possibly damaging them beyond repair.[18][19]

Into production

Cameras of the MiG-25RB

Full scale production of the MiG-25R ('Foxbat-B') began in 1969 at the Gorkii aircraft factory (Plant No.21). The MiG-25P ("Foxbat-A") followed in 1971, and 460 of this variant was built until production ended in 1982. The improved PD variant that replaced it was built from 1978 till 1984 with 104 aircraft completed.[6] But from then on the Gorkii factory switched over production to the new MiG-31.

Western intelligence and the MiG-25

MiG-25RBSh with markings of 2nd Sqn/47th GvORAP (Guards independent recce Regiment)

Inaccurate intelligence analysis caused the West initially to believe the MiG-25 was an agile air-combat fighter rather than an interceptor. In response, the United States started a new program which resulted in the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle.[20] NATO obtained a better understanding of the MiG-25's capabilities on 6 September 1976, when a Soviet Air Defence Forces pilot, Lt. Viktor Belenko, defected, landing his MiG-25P at Hakodate Airport in Japan.[21] The pilot overshot the runway on landing and damaged the front landing gear. Despite Soviet protests, the Japanese invited U.S. Air Force personnel to investigate the aircraft.[21] On 25 September, it was moved by a C-5A transport to a base in central Japan, where it was carefully dismantled and analyzed.[21] After 67 days, the aircraft was returned by ship to the Soviets, in pieces.[21]

The analysis, based on technical manuals and ground tests of engines and avionics, revealed unusual technical information:

  • Belenko's particular aircraft was brand new, representing the latest Soviet technology.
  • The aircraft was assembled quickly, and was essentially built around its massive Tumansky R-15(B) turbojets.
  • Welding was done by hand. Rivets with non-flush heads were used in areas that would not cause adverse aerodynamic drag.[22]
  • The aircraft was built of a nickel alloy and not titanium as was assumed (though some titanium was used in heat-critical areas). The steel construction contributed to the craft's 29,000 kg (64,000 lb) unarmed weight.
  • Maximum acceleration (g-load) rating was just 2.2 g (21.6 m/s²) with full fuel tanks, with an absolute limit of 4.5 g (44.1 m/s²). One MiG-25 withstood an inadvertent 11.5 g (112.8 m/s²) pull during low-altitude dogfight training, but the resulting deformation damaged the airframe beyond repair.[23]
  • Combat radius was 299 kilometres (186 mi), and maximum range on internal fuel (at subsonic speeds) was only 1,197 kilometres (744 mi) at low altitude (< 1000 meter).[6]
  • The airspeed indicator was redlined at Mach 2.8, with typical intercept speeds near Mach 2.5 in order to extend the service life of the engines.[21] A MiG-25 was tracked flying over Sinai at Mach 3.2 in the early 1970s, but the flight led to the destruction of its engines.[22]
  • The majority of the on-board avionics were based on vacuum-tube technology, not solid-state electronics. Although they represented aging technology, vacuum tubes were more tolerant of temperature extremes, thereby removing the need for environmental controls in the avionics bays. The vacuum tubes were also easy to replace in remote northern airfields where sophisticated transistor parts might not have been readily available. With the use of vacuum tubes, the MiG-25P's original Smerch-A (Tornado, NATO reporting name "Foxfire") radar had enormous power – about 600 $4s. As with most Soviet aircraft, the MiG-25 was designed to be as rugged as possible. The use of vacuum tubes also makes the aircraft's systems resistant to an electromagnetic pulse, for example after a nuclear blast.[24]

Later versions

As the result of Belenko's defection and the compromise of the MiG-25P's radar and missile systems, beginning in 1976, the Soviets started to develop an advanced version, the MiG-25PD ("Foxbat-E").[6]

Plans for a new aircraft to develop the Foxbat's potential to go faster than the in-service limit of Mach 2.8 were designed as a flying prototype. Unofficially designated MiG-25M, it had new powerful engines R15BF2-300, improved radar, and missiles. This work never resulted in a machine for series production, as the coming MiG-31 showed more promise.[6]

Operational history

Over Middle East


The unarmed 'B' version had greater impact than the interceptor when the USSR sent two MiG-25R, and two MiG-25RB to Egypt in March 1971 and stayed until July 1972. They were operated by the Soviet 63rd Independent Air Detachment (Det 63) set up specially for this mission. Det 63 flew over Israeli held territory in Sinai on reconnaissance missions roughly 20 times. The flights were in pairs at maximum speed and high altitude (between 17,000–23,000 m).[6]

On 6 November 1971, an Egyptian MiG-25 flying at Mach 2.5 was met by Israeli F-4Es and fired upon unsuccessfully.[25] A MiG-25 was tracked flying over Sinai at Mach 3.2 during this period. The MiG-25 engines went into overspeed, which led to their later destruction.[7] Unit Det 63 was sent back home in 1972, though reconnaissance Foxbats were sent back to Egypt in 19–20 October 1973 during the Yom Kippur War.[25] Unit Det 154 remained there until late 1974.

On 13 February 1981, the Israeli Air Force sent two RF-4Es over Lebanon as decoys for Syrian MiG-25 interceptors. As the MiGs scrambled, the RF-4Es turned back delivering chaff and using ECM pods. Two IDF/AF F-15As were waiting for the MiGs and shot one of them down with AIM-7F missiles. The other MiG was able to escape.[26] In a similar engagement, on 29 July 1981, a Syrian MiG-25 was again downed by an Israeli F-15A,[27][28] after which a second MiG-25 launched its R-40 missiles at the F-15 and its wingman, but they missed.[29] However, other sources say the missiles hit and downed one of the F-15s.[28] On 31 August 1983, a third Syrian MiG-25 was damaged by an Israeli Hawk SAM and then destroyed by an F-15.[30]

During the 1970s, the Soviet air force conducted reconnaissance overflights across Iran using its MiG-25RBSh aircraft in response to joint US-Iran recon operations.[31]

Iran-Iraq War

Air-to-air right underside rear view of a Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat aircraft.jpg

The MiG-25 was in service with the Iraqi Air Force during the Iran–Iraq War. According to research by journalist Tom Cooper, at least 10 MiG-25s may have been shot down by Iranian F-14s (one of them shared with an F-5[32]) during the Iran-Iraq war.[33] However, confirmed combat losses are between three and five MiG-25s (2-3 reconnaissance aircraft and 1-2 fighters). Two of them in air combat, one RB and one PD.[34]

Iraqi MiG-25s made their first kill against Iran in February 1983, when an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down an Iranian C-130. On April 1984, an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down an Iranian F-5E. On 21 March 1984, an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down an Iranian F-4E and on 5 June 1985 an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down a second Iranian F-4E. On 23 February 1986, an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down an Iranian EC-130E and on 10 June an RF-4E, later in October 1986, an Iraqi MiG-25PDS shot down a second RF-4E.[35] The most successful Iraqi MiG-25 pilot of the war was Colonel Mohommed "Sky Falcon" Rayyan, who was credited with 10 kills. Eight of these were while flying the MiG-25P from 1981 to 1986. In 1986, after attaining the rank of Colonel, Rayyan was shot down and killed by Iranian F-14s.[36] The Iraqis claimed a total of 19 Iranian fighters, plus 4 foreign jets shot down by the MiG-25. The Iranian fighters were no match for the Mig-25PD/PDS which prevailed in every clash with Iranian F-4Es and F-5Es. The only MiG-25PD loss occurred December 2, 1982, when the MiG was hit by an F-14's missile.[37]

On 3 May 1981, an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down an Algerian Gulfstream III. On 2 October 1986, an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down an Syrian MiG-21RF.[38]

For the majority of the air combat Iraqi pilots used R-40 missiles. The experience of the R-40 showed that in more than 95% of the cases the pilot of the enemy aircraft did not survive in the explosion of the warhead. During engagement with the IRIAF, usually single shots all worked perfectly. The sole case where two missiles an R-40RD and R-40TD were fired in sequence against the Iranian EC-130.

Persian Gulf War

Post Operation Desert Storm assessment photograph of an Iraqi aircraft bunker with the remains of a MIG-25 Foxbat after being attacked with a 2,000 pound laser-guided bomb.

During the Persian Gulf War, a US Navy F/A-18, piloted by Lt Cdr Scott Speicher, was shot down on the first night of the war by a missile fired by a MiG-25.[39][40] The kill was reportedly made with a Bisnovat R-40TD missile fired from a MiG-25PDS flown by Lt. Zuhair Dawood of the 84th squadron of the IrAF.[41]

In another incident, an Iraqi MiG-25PD, after eluding eight U.S. Air Force F-15s, fired three missiles at General Dynamics EF-111A Raven electronic warfare aircraft, forcing them to abort their mission and leave attacking aircraft without electronic jamming support.[N 1][42]

In yet another incident, two MiG-25s approached a pair of F-15s, fired missiles (which were evaded by the F-15s), and then outran the American fighters. Two more F-15s joined the pursuit, and a total of 10 air-to-air missiles were fired at the MiG-25s, although none reached them.[43] According to the same sources, at least one F-111 was also forced to abort its mission by a MiG-25 on the first 24 hours of hostilities, during an air raid over Tikrit.[44]

Two MiG-25s were shot down by USAF F-15Cs during the Gulf War, both using AIM-7s. After the war, on 27 December 1992, a U.S. F-16D downed a MiG-25 that violated the no-fly zone in southern Iraq with an AMRAAM missile. It was the first USAF F-16 air to air victory and the first AMRAAM kill.[45]

On 23 December 2002, an Iraqi MiG-25 shot down a U.S. Air Force unmanned MQ-1 Predator drone, which was performing armed reconnaissance over Iraq. This was the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat. Predators had been armed with AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, and were being used to "bait" Iraqi fighter aircraft, then run. In this incident, the Predator did not run, but instead fired one of the Stingers, which missed, while the MiG's missile did not.[46][47]

No Iraqi aircraft were deployed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, with most Iraqi aircraft being hidden or destroyed on the ground. In August 2003, several dozen Iraqi aircraft were discovered buried in the sand.


MiG-25R of No. 102 Squadron IAF on display at the Indian Air Force Museum, Palam

The MiG-25 was kept a guarded secret in India, and was nicknamed Garuda, after the large mythical bird-like creature from Hindu and Buddhist mythology.[48] It was used extensively in the Kargil War and Operation Parakram, conducting aerial reconnaissance sorties of Pakistan.[N 2][49]

In May 1997, an Indian Air Force Mikoyan MiG-25RB reconnaissance aircraft created a furor when the pilot flew faster than Mach 2 over Pakistani territory following a reconnaissance mission into Pakistan airspace. The MiG-25 broke the sound barrier while flying at an altitude of around 65,000 feet, otherwise the mission would have remained covert, at least to the general public. The Pakistan Government considered the breaking of the sound barrier was deliberate to make the point that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had no aircraft in its inventory which can come close to the MiG-25's cruising altitude (up to 74,000 feet). India denied the incident but Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, believed that the Foxbat photographed strategic installations near the capital, Islamabad.[50]

Lack of spare parts and India's acquiring of unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite imagery eventually led to its retirement in 2006.[N 3][48][49]



Reconnaissance prototypes. Two prototypes (Ye-155R-1 and Ye-155R-2) followed by four pre-production aircraft fitted with reconnaissance equipment.[51]
Interceptor fighter prototypes. Two prototypes (Ye-155P-1 and Ye-155P02) followed by nine pre-production aircraft.[52]
Designation applied to prototypes and pre-production aircraft (Ye-155R-1, Ye-155R-3 and Ye-155P-1) used for record breaking purposes in official documentation supplied to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.[53]


Single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft, powered by two Tumansky R-15B-300 turbojet engines, fitted with RP-25 Smerch-A1 radar and armed with four R-40 air-to-air missiles. NATO designation Foxbat-A.[54]
Improved single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft, which entered service from 1979. Fitted with R-15BD-300 engines and new N-005 Saphir-25 (RP-25M) Pulse-Doppler radar with look-down/shoot down capability, based on the radar of the MiG-23ML. Could be fitted with four R-60 air-to-air missiles replacing outermost two R-40 missiles. Late examples fitted with an undernose IR search and track system. NATO designation Foxbat-E.[55]
Upgrade of surviving MiG-25Ps to MiG-25PD standard from 1979. NATO designation Foxbat-E.[56]
Single MiG-25PD modified by addition of electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment.[56]
Single MiG-25PD modified with retractable in-flight refuelling probe.[56]
Two testbeds (one converted from a MiG-25RB and one from a MiG-25PD) for more powerful (98.04 kN (22,045 lbf) dry, 129.71 kN (29,166 lbf) with afterburner) engines.[57]
Designation applied to MiG-25M when used for record breaking in 1975 and 1977, including setting an absolute altitude record of 37,650 m (123,524 ft) on 31 August 1977.[57]
Izdelye 99
Two aircraft used as testbeds for Soloviev D-30F turbofan as later used in MiG-31.[55]

Reconnaissance and strike versions

Russian Air Force MiG-25RB

Russian Air Force MiG-25RBS

Single-seat high-altitude daylight reconnaissance aircraft, fitted with cameras, and ELINT equipment. NATO codename Foxbat-B.[58]
Single-seat reconnaissance-bomber derivative of MiG-25R, fitted with improved reconnaissance systems and a Peleng automatic bombing system. The aircraft can carry a bombload of eight 500 kg (1,102 lb) bombs. Entered service in 1970. NATO codename Foxbat-B.[58]
Modernised single-seat reconnaissance-bomber with revised Elint equipment (SRS-9 Vraz). NATO codename Foxbat-B.[59]
Further improved reconnaissance-bomber, with Tangaz Elint equipment. NATO codename Foxbat-B.[60]
Dedicated night reconnaissance aircraft, carrying 10 photoflash bombs under the fuselage. Only single prototype built. NATO codename Foxbat-B.[60]
Conversion of eight reconnaissance aircraft for high-altitude radiation sampling role. Used to monitor Chinese nuclear tests between 1970 and 1980. NATO codename Foxbat-B.[60]
Single-seat dedicated Elint aircraft, with Kub-3K Elint system. Bombing capability retained but cameras not fitted. NATO codename Foxbat-D.[60]
Conversion of MiG-25RBK with new Shar-25 Elint equipment. NATO codename Foxbat-D.[61]
Single-seat radar-reconnaissance aircraft, with Sabla-E side looking airborne radar (SLAR). Cameras not fitted but bombing capability retained. NATO codename Foxbat-D.[61]
MiG-25RBS fitted with more capable Shompol SLAR. NATO codename Foxbat-D.[61]
MiG-25BM "Foxbat-F"
Single-seat defence-suppression aircraft, armed with Kh-58 or Kh-31 air-to-surface missiles.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Conversion trainers

MiG-25PU trainer

MiG-25RU trainer in September 2008

Two-seat conversion trainer for MiG-25P interceptors. Fitted with a new nose section with two separate cockpits. It has no radar and no combat capability. NATO codename Foxbat-C.[57]
Two-seat conversion trainer for reconnaissance versions. Fitted with MiG-25R navigation system. NATO codename Foxbat-C.[61]
Designation given to single MiG-25PU used by Svetlana Savitskaya to establish a number of women's speed and height records, starting with speed over a 15–25 km course of 2,683.45 km/h (1.667.47 mph) on 22 June 1975.[57][62]


MiG-25 Operators 2010 (former operators in red)

Current operators

  • Algerian Air Force – 48 MiG-25s purchased from Ukrainian stocks. These included MiG-25PDS, RBV, PU, and RU types.[6] 11 were in service in January 2010, including five MiG-25Ps, three MiG-25PDs, and three MiG-25RBSHs.[63]
  • Azerbaijan Air Force – received eight MiG-25PDs, 14 MiG-25RBs and six MiG-25 trainers.[6] Five of these aircraft were in use in November 2008.[64]

Russian MiG-25BM.

  • Syrian Air Force – received 16 MiG-25PDs, 8 MiG-25RBs and 2 MiG-25PUs trainers;[6] 40 were in use as of November 2008.[64]

Former operators

Iraqi MiG-25RB at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. October 2007. Found buried in Iraq in 2003.

MiG-25RB of the Libyan Air Force

MiG-25RBS at the Ukrainian Air Force Museum in Vinnitsa

  • Bulgarian Air Force – Three MiG-25RBTs (#731, #736 and #754) and one MiG-25RU (#51) aircraft were delivered in 1982. On 12 April 1984, #736 crashed near Balchik. The pilot ejected successfully. They were operated by 26th RAB at Dobrich until their withdrawal. In May 1991, the surviving MiG-25s were returned to the USSR in exchange for five MiG-23MLDs.
  • Belarus Air Force – Had up to 50 MiG-25s, including 13 MiG-25PDs; by 1995 the type had been withdrawn.[6]
  • Indian Air Force – Took delivery of six MiG-25RBKs and two MiG-25RUs in 1981. They were operated by No. 102 Squadron "Trisonics" based at Bakshi-ka-talab AB in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. One RBK crashed on 3 August 1994.[6] Retired from service in May 2006.[48] The Trishul air-base in Bareilly had Foxbats capable of flying up to 80,000 ft.
  • Iraqi Air Force – Had seven MiG-25PUs, nine MiG-25Rs, and 19 MiG-25PD/PDSs as of January 1991. During Operation Desert Storm most of them were destroyed on the ground,[65] Two were shot down during and seven were flown over to Iran.[66]
 Kazakhstan[citation needed]
 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
  • Libyan Air Force – Operated a large number of MiG-25s, some sources say more than 60 were delivered. Types were of the MiG-25PD, MiG-25RBK, MiG-25PU and MiG-25RU variants. They were operated by No.1025 Squadron at Jufra-Hun, No.1055 Squadron at Ghardabiya and an unidentified squadron at Sabha Air Base.[6]
 Soviet Union
  • Soviet Air Force and Soviet Anti-Air Defence - The largest combined operator historically, Soviet aircraft were passed on to its successor states in 1991.
  • Ukrainian Air Force – Took over 79 aircraft after the breakup of the USSR.[6] They have been withdrawn from service.


  • MiG-25PD Red 49 (c/n N84008895) is on display at the Central Armed Forces Museum, Moscow, Russia.[67]
  • MiG-25RB (s/n 25105) is in the restoration facility at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. This aircraft was found in 2003 during the opening months of Operation Iraqi Freedom by American forces, buried in the sand near Al Taqaddum Airbase, about 250 km west of Baghdad. The aircraft had been buried to prevent its destruction on the ground by coalition aircraft. When uncovered, the MiG-25RB was incomplete, as the wings could not be located. This aircraft was one of two MiG-25s transported by a Lockheed C-5A Galaxy from Iraq to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for examination. It was donated to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in December 2006. The museum's restoration staff is currently attempting to locate a set of wings to complete the aircraft for display.[68]
  • MIG-25R (s/n KP355) is on display at the Indian Air Force Museum at Palam, New Delhi.

Specifications (MiG-25P)


Data from The Great Book of Fighters,[69][page needed] International Directory of Military Aircraft,[70] Combat Aircraft since 1945[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 19.75 m (64 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.01 m (45 ft 11.5 in)
  • Height: 6.10 m (20 ft 0.25 in)
  • Wing area: 61.40 m² (660.93 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 20,000 kg (44,080 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 36,720 kg (80,952 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojets
    • Dry thrust: 73.5 kN (16,524 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 100.1 kN (22,494 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed:
    • High altitude: Mach 3.2[7] (3,470 km/h, 2,170 mph); Mach 2.83 (3,200 km/h, 1,920 mph) continuous engine limit[7]
    • Low altitude: 1,200 km/h (648 knots, 746 mph) at altitude[70]
  • Range: 1,730 km (935 nmi, 1,075 mi)with internal fuel
  • Ferry range: 2,575 km(1,390 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 20,700 m (67,915 ft) with four missiles; over 24,400 m (80,000 ft) for RB models
  • Rate of climb: 208 m/s (40,950 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 598 kg/m² (122.5 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.41
  • Time to altitude: 8.9 min to 20,000 m (65,615 ft)


  • 2x radar-guided R-40R (AA-6 "Acrid") air-to-air missiles, and
  • 2x infrared-guided R-40T missiles
  • Avionics

    • RP-25 Smerch radar
    • A RV-UM or a RV-4 radar altimeter

    See also


    1. Quote: "But as the Ravens began their second orbit in a counterclockwise turn toward the Syrian border (over Al-Qaim), a MiG-25 suddenly darted toward them at high speed. The Iraqi fired one air-to-air missile at the lead Raven and two at his wingman. The missiles flew wide, but the Ravens dived to escape and then, uncertain where the MiG was lurking, turned back to Saudi Arabia."
    2. Quote: "The MIG 25 was extensively used in the Kargil conflict in 1999 and also during Operation Parakram 2001."
    3. Quote: "UAVs and Satellite Imagery have made these aircraft obsolete to an extent, however these are still useful for strategic reconnaissance. Spares are a major problem as per Air Marshal A K Singh, C in C Western Air Command."
    1. 1.0 1.1 Wilson 2000, p. 103.
    2. "Global Aircraft – Top 50 Fastest Aircraft." The Global Aircraft Organization, 24 April 2007. Retrieved: 30 June 2011.
    3. Rich and Janos 1994, p. 15.
    4. Gordon and Gunston 2000, p. 166.
    5. Gordon and Gunston 2000, p. 106.
    6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 Gordon 2008
    7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Spick 2000
    8. 8.0 8.1 Lake 1998, p. 108.
    9. Belyakov and Marmain 1994, p. 398.
    10. Belyakov and Marmain 1994, pp. 272–274.
    11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Belyakov and Marmain 1994, p. 391.
    12. Belyakov and Marmain 1994, pp. 387–388.
    13. Lake 1998, p. 109.
    14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Belyakov and Marmain 1994, p. 392.
    15. Belyakov and Marmain 1994, pp. 406–407.
    16. Eden 2004, p. 308.
    18. "Intelligence: Big-Mouth Belenko." Time, 11 October 1976. Retrieved: 12 May 2010.
    19. Gunston and Spick pp. 132–133.
    20. Jenkins 1998, pp. 6–7.
    21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Barron 1980, p. 15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Barron" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Barron" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Barron" defined multiple times with different content
    22. 22.0 22.1 Barron 1980, pp. 169–171.
    23. "MiG-25." Retrieved: 5 September 2010.
    24. Broad, William J. "Nuclear Pulse (I): Awakening to the Chaos Factor." Science, Volume 212, 29 May 1981, pp. 1009–1012.
    25. 25.0 25.1 "Foxbats over Sinai." Retrieved: 5 September 2010.
    26. Aloni 2006, p. 33.
    27. Aloni 2006, pp. 37-38.
    28. 28.0 28.1 Gordon 1997, p. 53.
    29. Aloni 2006, p. 38.
    30. Aloni 2006, p. 64.
    32. Arabian Peninsula & Persian Gulf Database: Iranian Air-to-Air Victories, 1982-Today, Sept. 16, 2003
    33. Cooper, Tom and Farzad Bishop. Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat, pp. 85-88. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2004.
    34. Потери ВВС Ирака
    35. Mevlutoglu, Arda. "Airshow Turkiye 2011."[dead link] ACIG, 11 June 2011. Retrieved; 30 June 2011.
    36. Nicolle and Cooper 2004, pp. 82, 86.
    37. "MiG-25", "R-40", Ahmad Rushdi
    38. Iraqi Air-to-Air Victories since 1967
    39. Weiner, Tim. "With Iraq's O.K., a U.S. Team Seeks War Pilot's Body." The New York Times, 14 December 1995, p. A1.
    40. "Intelligence Community Assessment of the Lieutenant Commander Speicher Case". CIA, FOIA Electronic Reading Room, 27 March 2001. Retrieved: 10 September 2006.
    41. Sadik, A. and D. Zampini. "Tretij Den' (i posledujuschie...)" ["The Third Day (and beyond...)."] Aviacija i vremja (Aviation and Time), No. 6, 2005.
    42. Atkinson 1993, pp. 125–126.
    43. Atkinson 1993, pp. 230–231.
    44. Atkinson 1993, p. 75.
    46. Krane, Jim. "Pilotless Warriors Soar To Success." CBS News, 25 April 2003.
    47. "Video of Shoot-Down." CBS. Retrieved: 5 September 2010.
    48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 "India retires Cold War spy MiGs." BBC News. 9 April 2006. Retrieved: 30 June 2011.
    49. 49.0 49.1 Bhonsle 2006, p. 256.
    50. Steinemann, Peter. "VayuSena: Recce Incursion." Air Power International. Retrieved: 5 September 2010.
    51. Lake 1998, pp. 108–109.
    52. Lake 1998, pp. 109–110.
    53. Lake 1998, p. 110.
    54. Lake 1998, pp. 110–111.
    55. 55.0 55.1 Lake 1998, p. 112.
    56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 Lake 1998, p. 113.
    57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 Lake 1998, p. 114.
    58. 58.0 58.1 Lake 1998, p. 115.
    59. Lake 1998, p. 116.
    60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 Lake 1998, p. 117.
    61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 61.3 Lake 1998, p. 118.
    62. Belyakov and Marmain 1994, p. 404.
    63. 63.0 63.1 "World Military Aircraft Inventory". 2010 Aerospace, Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 2010.
    64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.3 "Directory: World Air Forces." Flight International, 11–17 November 2008.
    65. "Iraqi Perspectives Project Phase II. Um Al-Ma'arik (The Mother of All Battles): Operational and Strategic Insights from an Iraqi Perspective, Volume 1 (Revised May 2008)." Institute for Defense Analysis, May 2008.
    66. "Iraqi Air Force Equipment - Introduction." Retrieved: 26 July 2011.
    68. "MiG-25 fact sheet." Retrieved: 27 October 2010.
    69. Green and Swanborough 2001.
    70. 70.0 70.1 Frawley 2002, p. 123.
    • Aloni, Shlomo. Israeli F-15 Eagle Units in Combat. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84603-047-5.
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    • Belyakov, R.A. and J. Marmain. MiG: Fifty Years of Secret Aircraft Design. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-488-4.
    • Bhonsle, Brig. Rahul K. India: Security Scope 2006 The New Great Game". Delhi, India: Kalpaz Publications, 2006. ISBN 81-7835-512-4.
    • Cooper, Tom and Farzad Bishop. Iranian F-14 Units in Combat. London: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-1-84176-787-1.
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    • Frawley, Gerald. "Mikoyan MiG-25." The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002/2003. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.
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    • Gordon, Yefim. Mikoyan MiG-25 Foxbat: Guardian of the Soviet Borders (Red Star Vol. 34). Hinckley, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2008. ISBN 978-1-85780-259-7.
    • Gordon, Yefim and Bill Gunston. Soviet X-Planes. Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing Ltd., 2000. ISBN 978-1-85780-099-9.
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    • Gunston, Bill. An Illustrated Guide to Modern Fighters and Attack Aircraft. London: Salamander Books, 1980. ISBN 0-668-04964-2.
    • Gunston, Bill and Mike Spick. "Mikoyan/Gurevich MiG-25." Modern Air Combat: The Aircraft, Tactics and Weapons Employed in Aerial Combat Today. New York: Crescent Books, 1983. ISBN 978-0-517-41265-7.
    • Jenkins, Dennis R. McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle: Supreme Heavy-Weight Fighter. Hinckley, UK: Midland Publishing, 1998. ISBN 1-85780-081-8.
    • Lake, Jon. "Variant Briefing: MiG-25 'Foxbat' and MiG-31 'Foxhound'". World Air Power Journal, Volume 34, Autumn/Fall 1998, pp. 98–123. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-86184-019-5. ISSN 0959-7050.
    • Nicolle, David and Tom Cooper. Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat (Osprey Combat Aircraft 044). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-1-84176-655-3.
    • Rich, Ben and Leo Janos. Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-316-74300-3.
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    External links

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