Recently Revealed, Russia Uses Hypersonic Missiles On MiG-31 To Bring Down Ukrainian Fighters

Recently Revealed, Russia Uses Hypersonic Missiles On MiG-31 To Bring Down Ukrainian Fighters
Russia Uses Hypersonic Missiles On MiG-31 To Bring Down Ukrainian Fighters

International Military - After nine months of war in Ukraine, details of the new weapons used by Russia during the war are gradually coming to light. One of them is the use of the Vympel R-37 hypersonic missile, to take down a Ukrainian fighter. The Vympel R-37 hypersonic missile, which NATO calls the AA-13 Axehead, is used to attack air targets as far as 250 miles or about 402 km.

The Vympel missile, designed to engage air targets at low altitude, has a speed of Mach 6 or 6 times the speed of sound. This high speed makes the Vympel R-37 missile difficult to deal with and nearly impossible to dodge. Moreover, the Vympel R-37 missile was fired from a MiG-31 fighter that accelerated to more than twice the speed of sound (Mach 2).

The Ukrainian military says it has detected a Russian hypersonic missile. Based on Ukrainian data, as well as data from external sources, it is assumed that a MiG-31 and Vympel R-37 combination of the Russian Air Force was responsible for many of the downed Ukrainian aircraft.

Quoted from Bulgarian Military, Saturday (19/11/2022), four Ukrainian Air Force officers testified that in October, the Russian Air and Space Force [VKS] launched six such missiles per day. They revealed that Russia has started using Very Long Range Air-to-Air Missiles (VLRAAM).

Experts explain the working principle of the Vympel R-37 missile after it is fired in an arc. During this flight, the missile relies on inertial navigation. Around 18 miles or 29 km from the target, the missile began using its dual-band radar to lock on to the target.

The high speed of the Vympel R-37 missile makes the Su-25 Frogfoot fighter and the Ukrainian Su-24 Fencer supersonic bomber helpless. Although in theory, according to former US Air Force pilot Colonel Jeffrey Fisher, the Vympel R-37 missile has small wings that make it difficult to maneuver, so there is a chance for Ukrainian aircraft to avoid it.

The presence of the Vympel R-37 hypersonic missile on the Ukrainian battlefield means that Russia has been able to fool Western analysts. For many years it was believed that these rockets were "boutique production" or in other words exotic weapons. The analysis stems from the fact that Moscow struggled for years to manufacture and deploy the R-77-1 and Vympel R-37 long-range air-to-air missiles, but was never seen.

However, a major deployment in October of this type of missile suggests Moscow may already have enough of it. Moreover, the deployment of this hypersonic missile from the MiG-31 Foxhound fighter aircraft is a deadly duet. Even though it is relatively old, 40 years old, the MiG-31's old technology, capable of flying very fast and at very high altitudes, is hard to find an opponent.

Only one MiG-31 was reported to have been destroyed during the Russia-Ukraine war, while it was parked next to the runway during the Ukrainian attack on the Saki base in Crimea. Another modern Russian aircraft “dropped like a pear” while the MiG-31 remained steady in the air.

According to the RUSI report, the MiG-31 outperforms the Ukrainian fighter in terms of speed, range and altitude. This is because the MiG-31 aircraft inherited the speed of its predecessor, the MiG-25 Foxbat. Russia is not too wrong to develop the MiG-31 Foxhound to replace the MiG-25 Foxbat. Although until now the MiG-25BM still holds the record for the fastest flight by a military aircraft, Mach 2.8. The only country currently operating the MiG-25 is Algeria.

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