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Upgraded MiG-31 interceptors to cover Russia's Arctic, other strategic directions — source

December 30, 2014, 16:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin sees control of the Arctic as a matter of serious strategic concern for Moscow

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MiG-31 aircraft

MiG-31 aircraft

© ITAR-TASS/Donat Sorokin

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. Fifty upgraded Mikoyan MiG-31BM supersonic interceptor aircraft will cover the most important strategic directions, including the Arctic, a Russian defense industry source told TASS on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sees control of the Arctic as a matter of serious strategic concern for Moscow.

According to the contract terms, more than 50 fighters modernized to the level of MiG-31BM will be delivered to the troops by the end of 2018.

“After repair with in-depth modernization to the MiG-31BM level the aircraft will be put on combat duty to cover the critically important strategic directions, including the Arctic,” he said.

The MiG-31 (NATO reporting name Foxhound) is the fastest fighter-interceptor in service anywhere in the world. The upgraded MiG-31BM has a range of 1450 km on internal fuel, which can be extended to 5400 km with air-to-air refuelling.

The warplanes will get upgraded avionics, improved cockpit ergonomic design, new radars. The fighters’ armament control systems will be modernised for the use of new bombs and new air-to-air missiles, as well as antiradar missiles.

“The combat jets are also to be equipped with digital data communication channels,” the source added. He said the new equipment considerably simplifies the algorithm of transfer of orders for weapons use and also allows the warplanes to exchange information with ground-based, aerial and space objects.

The interceptors will be modernized by the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, the Nizhny Novgorod-based Sokol Aviation Plant and the Petersburg-based Zaslon Science and Technology Center.

The first contract on the MiG-31 jet modernization under which more than 50 upgraded MiG-31BM combat jets will be delivered to the Russian Air Force by 2019, was signed by Sokol in 2011. This year, 18 such warplanes have been delivered to the troops.

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