Of Black Jacks, Foxhounds and Pak FAs

MiG-31

Russia has been causing quite a stir amongst the military comunity of late, as it continues to modernize its air force with aircraft that span the gamut of combat missions. In April, The Russian Air Force added two dozen upgraded multi-role MiG-31BM fighters to its fleet and more than 100 others are expected in coming years, according to UPI.

The first 24 aircraft, which NATO calls the Foxhound, were modernized by the Rostec Corporation, which is inducting about a dozen earlier variants of the MiG-31 for upgrade each year.

Blackjack

In December, Russia finished a $103 million upgrade to its fleet of supersonic “Blackjack” bombers, bringing what was already considered the world’s fastest nuclear bomber into the 21st century with new electronic systems that could give the 33-year-old Soviet-era planes an edge in the skies over the United States B1 “Lancer” bomber.

When the Tu-160, known to American military experts as “Blackjack,” was introduced in 1981, the bomber was the crown jewel of the Soviet Union’s Air Force. Following the collapse of the communist empire a decade later, many of the Blackjack bombers were destroyed as part of nuclear disarmament deals with the West.

Su-50

Looking forward, plans are already underway to produce several variants of the Pak FA stealth fighter, in conjunction with the Indian Air Force. A family of Su-50 derivatives are planned, although no word as yet when any of these proposed systems will enter service.

 
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