Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 'FOXBAT'
Role: interceptor, reconnaissance
Variants: MiG-25P (Foxbat-A), MiG-25R/RB/RBV/RBT (Foxbat-B), MiG-25PU/RU/U (Foxbat-C), MiG-25RBK/RBS/RBSh/RBF (Foxbat-D), MiG-25PD/PDS (Foxbat-E), MiG-25BM (Foxbat-F)
Operators: Russia, USSR, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, India, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine
Current Operators: Russia
The MiG-25 was designed as a purpose built interceptor lacking manoeuvrability and agility. The MiG-25 holds the record for the fastest production fighter aircraft ever built. It has two powerful afterburning turbofans each capable of delivering 110 kN (24,700 lb) of thrust. It is equipped with a simple but very powerful radar for long range missile guidance. The MiG-25 relies on ground control radars for guidance to the target. The MiG-25P (Foxbat-A) was the first interceptor model, improved radar, fire control and engines resulted in the MiG-25PD and PDS (NATO: Foxbat-E).
The tremendous speed and high service ceiling made it also a good aircraft for photo reconnaissance. The variants for the recce role are the MiG-25R/RB/RBV/BBT (NATO codenamed Foxbat-B) and the later MiG-25RBK/RBS/RBSh and RBF models, NATO codename Foxbat-D, which had improved radar, sensors and cameras.
Two seat trainer variants are the MiG-25PU for the interceptor types, MiG-25RU for the recce types, and the basic MiG-25U variant. All designated as Foxbat-C by NATO.
The latest variant MiG-25BM or Foxbat-F is basically a MiG-25RB with ECM equipment instead of the reconnaissance equipment. It is developed for the suppression of enemy air defences, especially SAM radar sites and is armed with the Kh-58 stand-off anti-radiation missiles.
The MiG-25 was still operated into the 21st century, albeit only in the photo reconnaissance role. Russia still operates one unit equipped with MiG-25 recce variants and some trainers, planning a digital upgrade and overhaul from 2014 onwards to extend its service. Besides Russia, India was one of the main operators of the MiG-25R and continued using the aircraft until its retirement in 2006.