Howard Gethin/LONDON

MAPO has revealed the first prototype MiG-31BM defence-suppression-capable variant of the MiG-31 interceptor. The aircraft is based on the MiG-31B interceptor in service with the Russian air force.

The Russian company is already offering the type for export, possibly to China and India, there being little prospect of an order from the Russian armed forces. However, the upgrade could be an attempt to extend the life of the Russian MiG-31s by adding multi-role capability to the existing aircraft in the absence of the cancelled MiG-31M programme.

MAPO has previously offered MiG-31s for export with ground attack or defence suppression capability under the designation MiG-31MF or FE.

The aircraft, number Blue 58, is armed with R-77 (AA-12 Adder) active radar guided air-to-air missiles, underfuselage R-33S (AA-9 Amos) long-range radar-guided air-to-air missiles, a single Kh-58 (AS-11 Kilter) anti-radiation missile under the starboard wing and single Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) anti-radiation missile under the port wing.

Notably, there is no sign of the R-37 (AA-X-13) air-to-air missile which had been intended as an R-33 replacement. Funding constraints are a likely cause.

Source: Flight International