Warplanes: Israeli Equipped Su-30s Replace Mig-25s

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October 4, 2007: The Indian Air Force is replacing its Mig-25 reconnaissance aircraft with Su-30s carrying Israeli sensors. This will enable the Su-30MKI aircraft to take pictures up to 300 kilometers inside another country's (Pakistan and China) territory. This is much better than what the Russian equipped MiG-25 could do. The MiG-25 was developed, in the 1960s, to deal with the American B-70 bomber. When the United States cancelled the B-70 in 1967 (too expensive, and a decision to go with bombers that come in low and fast), the Russians kept going with the MiG-25, and switched its role to reconnaissance. The MiG-25 turned out to be an excellent recon aircraft, able to fly higher and faster than other fighters used for this job, although not as high as the American U-2 or SR-71. But the United States did not sell those aircraft to anyone, while Russia made a lot of money selling MiG-25s to anyone with enough cash. Russia also made a lot of money training the two man crew required for each aircraft.

The MiG-25 design was later upgraded to the MiG-31, which fixed a long list of MiG-25 problems, and became a very impressive interceptor. The 46 ton aircraft appeared in the 1980s, and had passive sensors, with a range of 200 kilometers, and radar guided R33 missiles, with a range of 150 kilometers. Other missiles are carried, as well as smart bombs. The MiG-31 was not very maneuverable, but is fast (able to sprint at up to 3,200 kilometers an hour). Like the original MiG-25, it does not have much range (720 kilometers combat radius). The latest version, the MiG-31M, is actually an accumulation of upgrades. This works has been under way since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But since then, about 200 of the remaining 350 MiG-31s have been upgraded, or are in line for the work. Originally, 500 MiG-31s were built in the 1980s. While the MiG-31 can be used for strategic reconnaissance, the 33 ton Su-30 is cheaper to operate, and gets the job done.

 


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