Are the most superior fighter planes designed and manufactured in the US?
While the US has been among the best, if not the best superpower in military terms, we must not forget about the Soviet Union.
One of the military inventions from the Soviet Union is the MiG series. In particular, the Mikoyan MiG-31 proves the most popular.
The Mikoyan MiG-31 was the most advanced interceptor fielded by the Soviet Union before its dissolution, a supersonic interceptor aircraft developed to replace the MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’, which was in turn plagued by design complications imposed during the aim to maximize its flight performance.
Like the MiG-25, the Foxhound is a large twin-engine aircraft with side-mounted air intakes, a shoulder-mounted wing and twin vertical tailfins. Unlike the Foxbat, it has two seats, with the rear occupied by a dedicated weapon systems officer.
According to several unverified reports, on June 3, 1986 six MiG-31s performed a coordinated intercept against a SR-71 Blackbird on a training mission over the Barents Sea. This would have subjected the aircraft to an all-angle air-to-air attack which even its great speed and electronic countermeasures may not have been able to defeat. No missiles were fired (the interception took place over international waters) but the Soviets had certainly made their point.
Armament consists of a GSh-6-23 23 mm cannon, as well as combinations of a host of air-to-air missiles: R-60 (AA-8 ‘Aphid’), R-77 (AA-12 ‘Adder’), R-73 (AA-11 ‘Archer’) and R-40TD1 (AA-6 ‘Acrid’).
Despite many rumors, there is still no clear successor to the MiG-31 Foxhound. Till today, it remains one of the key military force to reckon with in Russia
On a personal note, I like the internal cannon, GSh-6-23 which has a claimed firing rate of more than 10.000 rounds a minute. As a passionate origamist, I manage to create a paper MiG-31 incorporating this missile capability and it has since become another prominent piece in my collection.
About the author
Kenneth Tang combines his passion in fighter planes and origami to develop instructional videos to fold origami fighter planes that mimics the real ones. You can learn his origami “secrets” free at http://www.FighterPlaneOrigami.com He can be reached by email at Kenneth.Tang@FighterPlaneOrigami.com