Blogger Aslan has paid a visit to the aircraft repair plant of Rzhev, Russia, to make a report about mass modernization of MiG-31 fighters. His pictures are presented in this post.
There are about 10 aircraft on the conveyor of the assembly shop. Upon full disassembly and assembly, they will be sent to a painting shop.
An aircraft is fully disassembled, all units are repaired and tested, and when necessary – replaced with new ones.
The main problem that might occur is a short supply of some parts required for production.
They have an additional facility for wing and empennage repair.
The MiG-31 was phased out of production in 1994, the average service life of such aircraft exceeds 25 years. When such a period expires an aircraft has to go through an overhaul that provides a guaranteed extra 30 years of normal service.
Specialists believe that the operation time of its airframe may reach 40 years.
They have been preparing for this modernization since 2006.
They have a lot of orders, but the modernization of MiG-31 is their top priority.
Modernization of 50 units of MiG-31BM is to be completed by the end of 2018.
Modernization includes new avionics, digital data channels, radar and cabin improvement (multifunctional color displays), new powerful “smart” bombs, air-to-air missiles, anti-radar missiles. The detection range of the new radar is 320 km, it may track up to ten targets at the same time.
MiG-31 became the replacement of MiG-25 that had been developed to oppose American bombers B-70 and SR-71 jets.
While modernizing MiG-31 they made necessary corrections to eliminate the shortcomings of MiG-25 so the new fighter turned into a very impressive interceptor.
MiG-31 is not a very maneuverable aircraft but a rather speedy one (up to 3000 km/h). Its combat radius is 720 km, which is not too much, in fact.
About 500 units of MiG-31 were made back in the 80s. In fact hundreds of MiG-31 aircraft that Russia has today could be updated to the level of MiG-31M or 31BM.
The service life after modernization is about 10-15 years.
In the painting shop.
Something seems to be lacking..
Oh, bright colors were missing!
The bottom of the body will be a bit lighter…
They use sprayguns for coloring.
Presently, the plant repairs and modernizes the following aircraft: MiG-31, Su-24, MiG-29, their components and detachable equipment.
Aircraft repair plant No. 514 is a big enterprise that repairs and modernizes front-line aircraft and has 72-years experience in military aviation equipment repair.
Millimeter after millimeter…
The most delicate work is done by women.
ARZ engines are waiting for their owners.
Nose cones of Su-24 and MiG-31.
The plant has its own 3-km runway.
Exposition devoted to the history of the plant.
The shops of Rzhev repaired a lot of aircraft during the war time.
Our thanks to Aslan for the excursion!