The prototype of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 first flew in 1964 although the aircraft did not enter service until 1970. Built primarily using stainless steel, the aircraft was capable of Mach 2.83 operation speed. It could exceed Mach 3 at risk of significant damage to the aircraft and its engines. Designed as an interceptor, the aircraft featured a powerful radar and could carry 4 air-to-air missiles.
Powered by twin Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojet engines, the MiG-25 quickly set 29 world records for top speed, time to climb and maximum altitude. Several still stand today. When it was first introduced, the MiG-25 caused great concern among Western powers. The capabilities of the aircraft became better understood when Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected in 1976 flying his MiG-25 to Japan.
For much of its service life the MiG-25 was used to pursue the legendary SR-71 Blackbird. Many times during the Cold War the two were adversaries. Victor Belenko wrote in his biography, MiG Pilot, “They taunted and toyed with the MiG-25s sent up to intercept them, scooting up to altitudes the Soviet planes could not reach, and circling leisurely above them or dashing off at speeds the Russians could not match.”
This artwork is a tribute to the incredible MiG-25 and the pilots who flew it "Chasing The Blackbird".