Man’s obsession with flight has given rise to some of the most beautiful flying machines! Within a century, aviation has gone from makeshift gliders to highly sophisticated, super-sonic, smart jets.
Did you know about one such amazing beauty called the MiG-25? A mystery in itself, this plane was a terror for the enemies. Read on to find out more!
It was made by Russian Aviation Giant – Mikoyan (Formerly Mikoyan Gurevich) to counter the XB-70 Valkyrie Strategic Bomber of the US Air Force. Russia at that time did not have any fighters that stood against the “Valkyrie” and hence the MiG-25 was designed to counter the Valkyrie. However the two aircraft types were fated never to face each other, since the Valkyrie did not go into series production.
The NATO reporting name of the MiG-25 is the FOXBAT
It has a top-speed of Mach 3.2 ( ~3390 km/h) i.e. thrice the speed of sound! However, the engines got burnt achieving that speed. It is one of the few aircraft able to have a sustained flight above Mach 2.5!
It has a service ceiling of 80,000 ft. However, that limit has also been broken by this magnificent machine! Read #11
To build the MiG-25 they took two of the biggest jet engines they could make and wrapped an airplane around them. At the heart of this aircraft are two massive Tumansky R-15 engines capable of 22,500 pounds of thrust each with afterburner. Pretty hot stuff for the early 1960s.
Because it can perform at speeds in excess of Mach 2.5, the aircraft heats up significantly – to temperatures of 299-399°C. That’s pretty hot!! Therefore, it was not possible to use traditional materials in manufacturing the MiG-25’s fuselage.One of the options was titanium; however Russian engineers put their faith in steel. Titanium and heat proof aluminum alloys had to be used for the rest. The plane is 80% Steel, 11% Aluminium and 9% Titanium.
The development of the MiG-25 and its test program were carried out in strict secrecy. It was first unveiled to the world on July 9, 1967 in a flypast to mark Air Force Day at Domodedovo airport outside Moscow.
For the West this was big news, and moreover it was not good news. Extraordinary hearings were held at the US Congress as a result.These hearings supported the start of work on a new class of fighter-interceptor in the F-14 and F-15. Both these aircraft feature a twin tail design, just like the MiG-25, but they fall short in terms of speed and altitude.
IAF was one of the Air Forces which operated MiG-25 as a reconnaissance aircraft from the 1981s right upto 1st May 2006 when it was decommissioned. The MiG-25 was called Garuda in the IAF, probably because no other aircraft in the world could match its speed, service ceiling and of the it could capture photos of enemy territory like an eagle!
#9 Something to be proud of!
In May 1997, an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-25 intruded into Pakistani territory. The pilot broke the sound barrier and achieved the “sonic boom” right over Islamabad. The Pakistani Air Force scrambled their State-of-the-art F-16s which they had obtained from USA. However, the MiG-25 was flying at a height of 65000 ft. and the F-16s could do nothing but watch the Indian Jet fly away as they could not fly above 55000ft! India denied the incident but Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, believed that the Foxbat photographed strategic installations near the Capital, Islamabad.
Owing to the aircraft’s demanding physical requirements were quiet demanding. As a result, during its entire tenure with the IAF, only 42 IAF pilots were ever qualified to fly this fighter!
The pilots who fly this tri-sonic aircraft use space-style G-suits and helmets.
The air-intakes of a MiG-25 are huge! A man can easily stand inside the air-intakes!
It holds 29 world records!
The MiG-25 holds 29 world records. Among these is one which is unique, and which has not been beaten even to this day – the altitude record in an aircraft using jet engines. On Aug. 21, 1977, Soviet test pilot Alexander Fedotov climbed to an altitude of 123,523 feet above the Earth!! Thats at the edge of space!!
The MiG-25 was retired from active flight duty from the Indian Air Force on 1 May 2006. 6 of these magnificent flying machines are on display at Barielly, Kalaikunda, Dundigal, Palam, Khadakvasla and Jodhpur. One can visit the Palam Air Force Museum to have a look at it!
Have a look at this amazing Short-Film!