YouTube - MiG-25
Red Line Speed:
Red Line Climb:
Red Line Ceiling:
2 x 24,700 lbs. ea.
4 - long range
78 ft. 2 in.
45 ft. 9 in.
The MiG-25, the fastest fighter jet aircraft, were developed for both interceptor and reconnaissance missions. On March 6, 1964 a prototype first took to the sky. In 1969 a reconnaissance MiG-25 became operational, with the interceptor following in 1972.
The MiG-25 originated in the 1960's when the Soviet Union felt that they needed a high speed, high altitude aircraft, capable of intercepting fast heavy bombers being developed by the West at that time.
In April of 1965, the Soviet Union announced that the MiG-25 prototype had set a new world's closed circuit speed record. Up until then, the aircraft project was a secret.
Although capable of high speeds and altitudes, the MiG-25 is limited by its short range with lack of in-air refueling, and a lack of maneuverability in close combat. It can only operate from fields with long runways. Its red-line speed is limited to less than maximum to prevent engine overheating. In November 1971, a MiG-25, trying to evade pursuing enemy aircraft, was clocked at speeds in excess of Mach 3.2, about 2,170 mph.
MiG-25 aircraft attempted to intercept the SR-71 Blackbird. Ground control guided the MiG-25 to their target, until the on board radar of the MiG-25 acquired it. The long range AA-6 "Acrid" air-to-air missiles of the MiG-25 were fired at their target numerous times, never scoring a single hit. The missiles were about 19 1/2 feet long, had a 50 mile range, and used either infra-red or radar homing.
Reconnaissance MiG-25 aircraft were stationed in Egypt in 1971. Their mission was to overfly Israeli held territory in the Sinai. Israeli aircraft were unable to catch them. The aircraft also flew reconnaissance flights over Iran.
The MiG-25 saw combat during the 1990 Gulf War where it scored the only Iraqi air combat victory of the war. It shot down an F/A-18 Hornet on the first night of the war and fired missiles at other aircraft. Another fired three missiles at EF-111 electronics warfare aircraft forcing them to abort their mission. Two other MiG-25 aircraft attacked two American F-15 Eagles. F-15's, the fastest U.S aircraft, evaded the missiles and then gave chase. They were joined by two additional Eagles and fired a total of ten missiles at the MiG-25 aircraft. All of the missiles fired by the U.S. aircraft missed.
In order to withstand the high heat generated by the speeds at which the MiG-25 flies, special alloys are used in the airframe and its covering. Nickle steel comprises most of its airframe, while the leading edges of the wings and tail are made from titanium.
Among the most distinguishable features of the MiG-25 are large engine exhausts of almost 5 foot diameter. The fuselage is over 78 feet long; almost 14 feet longer than the F-15. To improve low speed handling, two "fences" run the top of each wing surface.
The MiG-25 carries its fuel in a total of 8 tanks that occupy about 3/4 of the interior room of the aircraft. Internal fuel is about 32,000 lbs. with about an additional 9,575 lbs. carried externally.
Various versions of the MiG-25 have advanced side looking radar, and can be equipped with up to four anti-radiation missiles. Later versions carry look-down shoot down radar, and an infrared search and track system.
Rather than solid-state electronics, vacuum tubes power the MiG-25 avionics. In extreme temperatures and nuclear radiation, these vacuum tubes have actually been proven superior to solid state technology. The vacuum tube driven radar of the MiG-25 had been able to penetrate electronic counter measure systems.
The MiG-25 was sold to Algeria, India, Libya, Syria and Iraq. It remains in limited service in Algeria, Russia, Syria, and Turkmenistan.
During the 1980 to 1988 Iran - Iraq War, Iranian F-14's are confirmed to have downed two Iraq MiG-25 aircraft in air-to-air combat. Iraq claimed a total of 19 Iranian fighter aircraft downed by the MiG-25.
Between 1981 to 1983, three Syrian MiG-25 aircraft were downed by missiles fired from Israeli F-15 aircraft.
On September 6, 1976, Russian Lt. Viktor Belenko landed his MiG-25 in Japan, defecting to the West. The aircraft was analyzed by the best technicians of the West. It was returned to Russia after 67 days. Analysis of the aircraft showed that although some rivet heads were left exposed, they were in places not affecting performance. Rather than titanium being used as the primary building material, it was nickel steel alloy. However, titanium was employed on the leading edges and other heat sensitive areas.
The MiG-25 is redlined at Mach 2.8. Maximum G rating is limited to 4.5 G's although aircraft engineers believe a number closer to 6.0 G's is more realistic. Maximum range of the aircraft on internal fuel is about 750 miles.
On Aug. 31, 1977 a MiG-25 E piloted by Alexander Fedotov set a "zoom" absolute altitude record by pushing the plane to maximum speed, then climbing, trading speed for altitude. After the engines flamed-out the plane continued in a sort of ballistic trajectory to an altitude of 123,523.58 feet. The aircraft then dropped to a lower altitude where the engines were restarted.
A total of about 1,190 MiG-25 aircraft were produced.