Born with the specific purpose of replacing the pure MIG-25 interceptor, the Mikoyan Gurevich MIG-31 FOXHOUND has evolved over time into a multi-role attack vector, capable of engaging even ground targets.
Some Western analysts that the MIG-31 benefited from the F-14 TOMCAT technologies, supplied by the Iranians after the Khomeini 1979 revolution. However the real strength of the Russian fighter is the ZASLON-M radar, with an electronically-scanned antenna, capable of tracking up to 10 targets simultaneously, in an 200 km range, and simultaneously engaging 4 by launching of the R-33 air-to-air radar-guided missiles (very similar to the American AIM-54 PHOENIX).
Recently, according to sources from the Russian Federation Air Force Command, by the end of the year, two MIG-31 squadrons will be assigned in the Murmansk area to carry out patrols on the Arctic Ocean, claimed by Moscow as part integral part of its territory.
It is plausible that the MIG-31BM FOXHOUND-C will also be deployed, able to launch the new Kh-47M2 KINZHAL air-to-surface missile ("dagger", v.video in bottom), a high precision hypersonic missile (it could be the version unangeable of the surface-to-surface missile 9M723KI ISKANDER). The performances attributed to the KINZHAL speak of a maximum range of 2.000 km (although NATO military analysts consider a range of 1.500 km to be more truthful) and a speed, during the final approach to the target, equal to mach 10 ( with the possibility of performing evasive maneuvers). The KINZHAL can carry a wide variety of heads: conventional, thermonuclear, thermobaric.
The deployment of such a vector of attack, in what will probably be the operational theater of the near future, constitutes a real threat to the groups of American aircraft carriers who were to navigate the Arctic Ocean.
Images: Russian Fed. MoD