NIZHNI NOVGOROD, April 9. /TASS/. The life cycle of upgraded MiG-31BM interceptors ranges 40-45 years and may be prolonged to 50 years, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters on Thursday.
"In fact a new life can be breathed into this plane. Already now it is clear that after upgrade it can have an active service life and remain on duty for 40-45 years. But even that is not the limit. I believe that ways of extending its life cycle to 50 years will be considered," Borisov said.
The deputy minister said that the upgraded fighters will have their avionics and radar partly replaced, the fuselage and landing gear units will be almost fully disassembled.
According to Borisov, the MiG-31 modernization "will extend its service life instead of restoring its manufacturing." The deputy defense minister said that the issue of the resumption of the interceptors’ manufacturing has been intensively debated. "But in the current economic situation this is inexpedient and unprofitable," he said.
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Viktor Bondarev said previously that the military planned to use the MiG-31 jet until 2030. He proposed in 2013 to develop a warplane to replace the interceptor before the end of the current state armaments program.