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Jun-27-2007 12:40printcomments

Newspapers Report Syrian Purchase of Russian Jet Fighters

The MiG-31 is the latest development of the MiG-25, the world's fastest jet fighter.

MiG-31 fighter in flight
Photo courtesy: Defense Industry Daily

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Defense Industry Daily is reporting Russian newspaper claims that Russia is delivering 5 MiG-31E Foxhound aircraft to Syria under a deal that was reportedly negotiated in autumn 2006.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant adds that:

"...a lot of MiG-29M/M2 jets was sold to Syria as well. They are being sold abroad for the first time and are similar in their technical specifications to the MiG-35 model Russia is now offering India. The total value of the contract for the MiG-31 and MiG-29M/M2 aircraft is estimated at $1 billion."

The paper adds that this amount raises questions, noting the likelihood that the deal is being financed by Iran as a back-door purchase.

The Mikoyan MiG-31 (Russian: МиГ-31) (NATO reporting name "Foxhound") is a supersonic interceptor aircraft developed to replace the MiG-25 'Foxbat'. Designed by the Mikoyan design bureau, the MiG-31 was the most advanced interceptor fielded by the Soviet Union before its dissolution.

Like its MiG-25 predecessor, the MiG-31 was surrounded by early speculation and misinformation concerning its design and capabilities.

The West learned of the new interceptor from Lieutenant Viktor Belenko, a pilot who defected to Japan in 1976 with his MiG-25P. Belenko described an upcoming "Super Foxbat" with two seats and a capability to intercept cruise missiles.

According to his testimony, the new interceptor was to have air intakes similar to the MiG-23 'Flogger', which the MiG-31 in reality does not have, at least not in production variants.

While undergoing testing, a MiG-31 was spotted by a reconnaissance satellite at the Zhukovsky flight test center near the town of Ramenskoye.

More military coverage at: Frontline-News

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