MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will start developing a replacement for its MiG-31 "Foxhound" interceptors in 2017, Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev, commander of the Russian Air Force, said.
“From 2017 we will start working on a new long-range interceptor to replace MiG-31,” he said.
According to the official, the new aircraft is to enter service in 2025.
Bondarev said last year that the Russian Air Force is hoping to receive a new long-range fighter-interceptor by 2020 and retire its existing fleet of at least 122 MiG-31 interceptors by 2028.
The MiG-31 is a long-range supersonic interceptor. The two-seater aircraft can intercept targets up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) away thanks to its advanced radar and long-range missiles. It can operate efficiently in all weather conditions and is equipped with state-of-the-art digital avionics.
The MiG-31 entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1981. Production of the aircraft ended in 1994 but MiG-31 jets remain in service in the Russian and Kazakh air forces.
On August 8, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin proposed to resume the production of the MiG-31 interceptors, saying they could be effective for another 15 years. Rogozin also stressed that the aircraft had no rivals.