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Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat
Here is my LDD model of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat. This Cold War interceptor is built to minifig scale. As always, leave a comment if you like. Check out my flickr page for larger pictures https://www.flickr.com/photos/118702264@N05/. The LDD model is available on my Etsy site: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KurtsMOCs.
About this creation

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 (NATO reporting name “Foxbat”) is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that flew for the Soviet Union and its allies and former Soviet republics. It is one of the highest-flying military aircraft ever produced and the second fastest after the SR-71 Blackbird.


Conceived in 1958 by the PVO Strany (Soviet Air Defence Forces), the new aircraft was tasked with intercepting US supersonic strategic bombers such as the B-58 Hustler and B-70 Valkyrie and high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft such as the U-2 and SR-71. The requirements for the aircraft were attaining speeds of 3,000 km/h (1,864 mph) and an altitude of 27,000 m (88,583 ft). The Mikoyan and Sukhoi design bureaus responded, but Mikoyan won the day with its impressive design.


By the mid-1950s, the Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB had already been working on a series of interceptors, including one that would use the powerful Tumansky R-15 engine. There are suspicions that the design for the Foxbat was influences from the American A-5 Vigilante. The two aircraft share a similar layout except for the Foxbat’s twin vertical stabilizers.

The first prototype designated Ye-155-R1 flew on March 6, 1964. On July 9, 1967, four prototypes (three fighters and a reconnaissance variant) were shown to the public at the Domodedovo Air Show. Full-scale production of the MiG-25R (Foxbat-B) began in 1969 at the Gorkii aircraft factory and the MiG-25P (Foxbat-A) followed in 1971.


The production version of the Tumansky engines was the R-15B-300. Each engine weighed two and a half tonnes each. Maximum thrust was 73.5 kN (16,523 lbf) military power and 100.1 kN (22,503 lbf) with afterburner, pushing the Foxbat to a maximum speed of Mach 3.2. The life expectancy was 150 hours and pilots were never permitted to exceed Mach 2.8 otherwise the engines would have to be scrapped. Here you can see the huge Tumanskys on full reheat.

In order to deal with the thermal stresses, the airframe was constructed from high-strength stainless steel for the wings and fuselage. The steel components were formed using spot welding instead of the traditional riveting of aluminum frames.


The Foxbat used the RP-25 Smerch-A1 radar was powerful and had a long-range that worked well against high- and fast-flying US bombers. Incoming aircraft could be detected 100 kms away, locked up at 60 kms, and engaged at 30 kms with the R-40 missiles. The speed of the Foxbat and that of its proposed targets presented some interesting challenges. Closing in on a target head-on at full-speed could approach 1.5 km/s, which only allowed a few seconds for the pilot to launch a missile. In many instances, once the radar was locked on target, the aircraft’s computer would determine the closure rate and angle and launch the missiles automatically.

As powerful as the Smerch was, it lacked a look-down/shoot-down capability against low-flying targets. The pulse-Doppler RP-25M N-005 Saphir-25 replaced the RP-25 in late 1970, being fitted to the MiG-25PD (Foxbat-E) variant.

The Foxbat carries four supersonic R-40 (AA-6 ‘Acrid’) air-to-air missiles as its main armament. The Acrids came in two versions: the R-40R has a semi-active radar homing head and the R-40T has an infrared homing head. It is the largest air-to-air missile in the world ever to go into production, just edging out the AIM-54 Phoenix. The speed ranges from Mach 2.2 to Mach 4.5.


The reconnaissance versions of the Foxbat, the MiG-25R (Foxbat-B), were delivered to the Frontal Aviation units of the Soviet Air Forces (VVS). These were single-seat high-altitude daylight reconnaissance aircraft fitted with cameras and electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) equipment. You can see the camera arrangement on the nose the Foxbat and its lack of armament.

The air conditioning system of the Foxbat used a mixture of distilled water and alcohol. At high speeds, the alcohol would evaporate and cool various components of the aircraft. Due to the tank’s 240-litre capacity, the Foxbat was jokingly referred to as the “booze carrier” and remnants of the mixture had a tendency to “disappear” after flights!


The MiG-25RB (Foxbat-B) also carried up to eight 500-pound bombs. On bombing runs, the Foxbat would be flying at an altitude of 20,000 m at at a speed of 2,500 km/h at the release point, approximately 42 kms away. The bombs would slow a bit but still impact at supersonic speeds, often penetrating the ground to a depth of 30m-40m.


Here, a MiG-25PD (Foxbat-E) of the Ukrainian Air Defence Force is on final approach. The MiG-25PDS was an improved single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft. It had upgraded R-15BD-300 engines and the new N-005 Saphir-25 (RP-25M) Pulse-Doppler radar with look-down/shoot-down capability. The landing gear on this model is fully retractable.


The Foxbat performed well at high altitudes and at high speeds but were plagued with performance and control problems at low altitudes and high speeds. Tests at the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy at Monino revealed an uncontrollable roll due to an air-flow problem. This was traced to a jamming taileron at speeds of 1,100 km/h at low altitudes. Modifications had the pivot point for the tailerons moved forward 14 cms. The small badge is awarded to the ground crews of all Frontal Aviation regiments that reach a specified standard of proficiency and readiness.


A two-seat version of the MiG-25PU (Foxbat-C) was produced for pilot training. A separate instructor cockpit was fitted in front of the existing one, which was used by the trainee. Due to the additional cockpit, has no radar and combat capability. A reconnaissance trainer, the MiG-25RU, was fitted with the MiG-25R navigation system.


The Foxbat served with Soviet allies. In 1971, at least four Soviet Foxbats were stationed in Egypt to monitor actions over Israeli-held territory in the Sinai. The Israeli Air Force F-4 Phantom IIs were unable to reach the Foxbats and their missiles were easily outrun.

Iraqi Air Force Colonel Mohommed Rayyan earned eight air kills of his total while flying his MiG-25P between 1981 and 1986. Nicknamed the “Sky Falcon,” he remains the most decorated MiG-25 pilot in history.

This is one of the several MiG-25PDS (Foxbat-E) models delivered to the Iraqi Air Force between 1986 and 1988 and used in the Iraqi-Iranian war. This Foxbat is equipped with four R-60 (AA-8 “Aphid”) air-to-air infrared homing missiles.

During the Gulf War in 1991, the Foxbat suffered at the hands of Coalition pilots and aircraft. Most Iraqi pilots avoided engagement with American aircraft, especially the F-15 Eagle, although one MiG-25PD downed an F/A-18 Hornet using an AA-6 “Arcid,” proving that the Cold War Soviet technology and weapons were still effective.


On September 6, 1976, Lt. Viktor Belenko landed his MiG-25P at Hakodate Airport in Japan with the intention to defect. Belenko’s defection allowed Soviet technology and IFF signatures to fall into Western hands. This necessitated an upgrade in Soviet radar and weapons technology and equipment, which led to the more advanced MiG-25PD (Foxbat-E).


Japanese and American Air Force personnel transported the Foxbat via a C-5A Galaxy to a base in central Japan where it was dismantled and analyzed. 67 days later, it was returned to the Soviets in pieces. The Japanese billed the Soviets $40,000 for damages to the airport due to Belenko’s run-off into the grass and crating costs! The Foxbat is now reassembled and on display at the Sokol plant in Nizhny Novgorod. Here is my Foxbat undergoing evaluation!


Here is my MiG-31 Foxhound next to the Foxbat. My Foxbat borrowed some of the wing and fuselage shape (especially the 5-degree anhedral angle of the main wing) of the Foxhound, but from there it is largely different in design and construction. The lines of the Foxhound are smoother but has more exposed studs, while the Foxbat is mostly SNOT construction but a bit blocky. I think it matches the MiG-25’s character!

I have a few regrets in this model including a non-operable canopy (an elegant solution to the side-hinged canopy has proven elusive) and the taper of the fuselage to the nose cone is one stud too short, due to the complex interior assembly. I’m sure I’ll return sometime soon with an update!


Predator and prey. Here two Foxbats chase down my B-70 Valkyrie in a hypothetical engagement. This would have been the Foxbat’s intended hunting ground: a straight line, high-speed and high-altitude intercept. In reality, the Foxbat would engage the supersonic bomber with missiles at long range, but that wouldn’t have made for an interesting picture!

At the end of its production run in 1984, 1,190 aircraft were completed. The Foxbat was a tremendous achievement for its day and remains an icon of Cold War aviation. Thanks to the Military Factory and Wikipedia for the information and specifications.



Comments

 I made it 
  November 5, 2017
Quoting Mark B. This is perfect! Great attention to details everywhere. One (most likely apocryphal) story I heard about the Mig-25 is that its radar was so powerful that pilots were instructed not to activate it while on the ground, since it could kill small animals in the immediate vicinity.
Thanks for your comments, Mark. I've heard the same anecdote as well. The Smerch radar was a (literal) force of nature!
 I like it 
  November 4, 2017
This is perfect! Great attention to details everywhere. One (most likely apocryphal) story I heard about the Mig-25 is that its radar was so powerful that pilots were instructed not to activate it while on the ground, since it could kill small animals in the immediate vicinity.
 I made it 
  August 14, 2017
Quoting Marty Fields Love your MiGs! I have to admit, I did not know about the MiG-25RB carrying bombs, but a GSh-23 belly-pack was an option on early models. The fact that a F-18A was shot down in the First Gulf War is another fact I was not aware of.
Thanks for the comments Marty. The Foxbat has had an interesting life. I can imagine the belly pack gun would have have been impressive.
 I like it 
  August 12, 2017
Love your MiGs! I have to admit, I did not know about the MiG-25RB carrying bombs, but a GSh-23 belly-pack was an option on early models. The fact that a F-18A was shot down in the First Gulf War is another fact I was not aware of.
 I made it 
  June 9, 2017
Quoting Shiro Nobuyoki Ridiculously excellent.
Thanks, Shiro!
 I like it 
  June 8, 2017
Ridiculously excellent.
 I made it 
  May 20, 2017
Quoting A QIEA QIEA perfect :)
Thanks!
 I like it 
  May 20, 2017
perfect :)
 I made it 
  May 9, 2017
Quoting Builder Allan Cool! This looks very accurate. And great background stuff too :-)
Thanks for the support! I'm glad you like the model and the images.
 I like it 
  May 9, 2017
Cool! This looks very accurate. And great background stuff too :-)
 I made it 
  May 8, 2017
Quoting Doug Hughes A brilliant family of models, and an impressively detailed and informative writeup!
Thanks, Doug! I'm glad you like the model and the background information. Half the fun is researching the model!
 I like it 
  May 8, 2017
A brilliant family of models, and an impressively detailed and informative writeup!
 I made it 
  May 8, 2017
Quoting Gabor Pauler Another Kurt MOCs instant classic. Speechless. Period.
Thanks, Gabor! I appreciate the comments. Now I'm speechless!
 I like it 
  May 8, 2017
Another Kurt MOCs instant classic. Speechless. Period.
 I made it 
  May 7, 2017
Quoting Clayton Marchetti Beautiful job Kurt! the shaping of the tails and wings are perfect. I really like the two seater version you made too. I use to read a lot of Tom Clancy novels were these aircraft frequently appeared. Outstanding!
Thanks, Clayton! The design of the trainer version kept me up late at night. It's not as resolved as I would have liked, but it gets the job done. Thanks for your continued support.
 I like it 
  May 7, 2017
Beautiful job Kurt! the shaping of the tails and wings are perfect. I really like the two seater version you made too. I use to read a lot of Tom Clancy novels were these aircraft frequently appeared. Outstanding!
 I made it 
  May 7, 2017
Quoting Henrik Jensen Beautiful work on this classic cold war bird! Shaping and details are really fantastic, and the presentation is top notch! What is the little hinge-plate behind the cockpit supposed to be? Some photos of the real Mig-25 shows some kind of antenna, but I think it`s positioned further back the spine.
Thanks Henrik! The hinge plate represents the dorsal antenna. It was the most logical place for it given the design of the aircraft's spine. I made a few compromises with the construction in order to preserve some fluidity and elegance in the design and building. Thanks again for the support and your keen eye; you keep me on my toes!
 I like it 
  May 7, 2017
Beautiful work on this classic cold war bird! Shaping and details are really fantastic, and the presentation is top notch! What is the little hinge-plate behind the cockpit supposed to be? Some photos of the real Mig-25 shows some kind of antenna, but I think it`s positioned further back the spine.
 I made it 
  May 7, 2017
Quoting Jeremy McCreary Superb in every respect, Kurt! A fitting tribute to a truly exceptional aircraft that I knew nothing about! Thanks for cluing me in. I'm sure there must be a lot of exasperation in coming up with planes of this class, but imagine what fun the engineers must've had with this one!
Thanks for the comments Jeremy. The 1950s and 1960s were a crazy time for the aircraft industry. It seems newer and more powerful planes and technology were being developed monthly. The Foxbat was an incredible achievement in performance. Almost as fast as the SR-71 but durable enough to remain on constant alert; the Blackbird needed 24 hours of prep before each flight!
 I made it 
  May 7, 2017
Quoting BATOH rossi It is curious that the Japanese became aware of the damage caused to the Hokodate airport flight attendance radar only after the Soviets demanded damage due to the lack of parts in the thirty cases where Belenko's MIG was returned to him ... as Always great job Kurt!
This is true! The Soviets apparently sued the Japanese for 10 million dollars for the damage to the Foxbat! Neither country paid anything.
 I like it 
  May 7, 2017
Superb in every respect, Kurt! A fitting tribute to a truly exceptional aircraft that I knew nothing about! Thanks for cluing me in. I'm sure there must be a lot of exasperation in coming up with planes of this class, but imagine what fun the engineers must've had with this one!
 I like it 
  May 7, 2017
It is curious that the Japanese became aware of the damage caused to the Hokodate airport flight attendance radar only after the Soviets demanded damage due to the lack of parts in the thirty cases where Belenko's MIG was returned to him ... as Always great job Kurt!
 I made it 
  May 7, 2017
Quoting Seaman SPb Excellent build and historical essay, Kurt!
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the model and the narrative.
 I like it 
  May 7, 2017
Excellent build and historical essay, Kurt!
 
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