Mikoyan MiG-31 (fictional)
For the real aircraft of this designation, see Mikoyan MiG-31.
The MiG-31 Firefox, as seen in the movie
The MiG-31 (МиГ-31 in Cyrillic script), NATO reporting name "Firefox", is a fictional aircraft appearing in Craig Thomas' novels Firefox and Firefox Down, as well as the Clint Eastwood movie based on the former.
The Firefox is an interceptor aircraft with stealth capabilities, to the point that it is invisible to radar. It is powered by two incredibly powerful "Turmansky" (a probable misspelling of Tumansky) turbo-ramjet engines that permit flight at hypersonic speeds, but their exhaust gives the Firefox a prominent infrared signature. The Firefox's most famous feature is its Thought-Controlled Weapons System, which uses signals from the pilot's brain to target enemies and fire weapons; however, it only responds to commands thought in Russian. The Firefox's weapons consist of up to four AA-6 Acrid air-to-air missiles (modified for thought guidance), two 23 mm cannons, and four Rear Defense Pods, which fire an explosive charge at a pursuing aircraft or missile.
Other capabilities of the Firefox include a 3,000-mile (4,800 km) range and a flight ceiling over 120,000 feet (37,000 m). To give the pilot full situational awareness the aircraft also includes a camera system that allows the pilot to see images ahead of, below, and directly behind the aircraft on his console. Mitchell Gant uses this system several times during his flight to keep track of missiles, and other aircraft pursuing him.
Two production prototypes were built before it was to be deployed into active service for the Soviet Air Force. The first prototype was stolen by Mitchell Gant operating on behalf of the Western intelligence community. The second prototype intercepted Gant and the two aircraft entered into combat with Gant destroying his adversary.
In Firefox Down, it is revealed the remaining prototype's fuel lines were ruptured in the dogfight that concluded the previous novel and the aircraft crash-lands in Finland. One of the plot lines of Firefox Down is the race between the Soviets and Western Intelligence to recover the aircraft submerged in a frozen Finnish lake.
The Firefox's appearance differs between the first novel and film. The version in the novel resembles a MiG-25 Foxbat, much like the real MiG-31 Foxhound.
Cockpit scenes used shots from a F4 Phantom and T-38 Talon.
Length: 23.94 metres (78.54 feet)
Wingspan: 15.87 metres (52.06 feet)
Height: 6.15 metres (20.17 feet)
Empty weight: 32,890 kg (72358 lbs.)
Loaded weight: 63,650 kg (140,030 lbs.)
Max takeoff weight: 66,985 kg (147,367 lbs.)
Powerplant: 2x Tumansky T-60G9 afterburning PDEs
Maximum speed: Mach 6+ (4,400 mph, 7,060 km/h) at 24,000 metres (80,000 feet)
Combat radius: 4,450 km (2,765 mi)
Ferry range: 5,000 km (3,000 mi)
Service ceiling: 22,650 m (74,314 ft)
Rate of climb: 300 m/s (59,058 ft/min)
2x GSh-6-23 23mm cannons with 1,500 rounds.
12x outer pylons, 8x internal pylons; 8x underwing; 4x under-fuselage:
* Eight AA-8 'Aphid' or AA-11 'Archer' IR missiles
* Four AA-12 'Adder' Long-range missiles
* Four AA-9 'Amos' Long-range missiles (Internal)
4x Rear-defence pods, used to shoot down trailing aircraft or missiles.
Seeing a need to replace the aging fleet of Cold War-era interceptors and fighters, the Soviet Air Force decided to hold a competition between several of it's design bureaus. The end result was a combination of the Yakov, Tupolev and Mikoyan designs; a hyper-sonic stealth interceptor designed to shoot down the fastest bombers and cruise missiles. Equipped with the latest avionics and navigation systems and a modular design that allows it to switch from interception to dogfighting to reconnaissance or any role in between, the Firefox is one of the most advanced fighter aircraft ever flown.
The MiG-31's first flight was on November 17th, 2019. It was initially expected that the aircraft would fail to start due to a bit of trouble with the PDE's flaming out in the testing phase, however these fears were proven false when the Firefox roared into the sky, climbed to 50,000 feet in under a minute and boosted to Mach 5 less than thirty seconds later. The aircraft then engaged seven target drones from over fifty miles away, launching seven of it's AA-9 'Amos' missiles in a single volley. Within five minutes, the Firefox had taxied, taken-off, destroyed it's targets and returned to base. Before the pilot could get out, though, several fire vehicles had to be brought in to spray down the canopy down with water due to the intense heat caused by hypersonic flight.
It's quick-change modular design allows it to be suited for nearly any mission. The twin 23mm cannons are a major threat to anything in the air and most things on the ground. It can be loaded up with air-to-air ordnance, air-to-ground ordnance or a combination of both. The internal weapons bay can be loaded up with eight missiles or bombs, a camera or even a specially designed fuel tank. The external pylons can be fitted with larger weapons, including long-range missiles or even nuclear weapons; but this would compromise the stealth of the aircraft.
The Firefox's main advantage over anything else in the sky is it's massive speed. Powered by two pulse-detonation engines, the airframe is greatly reinforced compared to it's other, more conventional designs due to the powerful compression and sound waves generated by the pulsing. This not only allows the aircraft to fly at extremely high speeds but it also allows it greater maneuverability and lets the airframe take larger g forces. The only real disadvantage to the Firefox is it's extreme unit cost, and the massive infrared signature it produces. While RADAR would have a hard time tracking the fast-moving, high-flying Firefox, ATA missiles like the FIM-92 and AIM-9 Sidewinder would have no trouble attaining a lock. The downside to this is that the Firefox can outrun and possibly outmaneuver nearly any missile in existence.