Great concern for Europe! Russian MiG-31 fighters with a new upgrade can target key NATO bases

The Russian Air Force's MiG-31I, an upgraded variant of the MiG-31 Foxhound, has received a key upgrade that will allow the aircraft to refuel in mid-air.

According to information provided by an anonymous source to the TASS news agency, the MiG-31I fighter jet has been modified and equipped with a refueling mechanism to extend its combat radius.

The Mikoyan MiG-31, dubbed the world's "fastest" operational fighter jet, has been in service for more than 40 years and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Over the last 40 years, the aircraft has undergone several significant upgrades, the most recent being the refueling upgrade.

The MiG-31i variant is already a highly modernized variant.

Although it is often confused with the MiG-K, a different source who also spoke to TASS on condition of anonymity said the MiG-31I has "different engines and missiles" than the MiG-K variant. The MiG-31K is popular as a carrier of Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missile.

Landing for refueling makes the fighter plane vulnerable to enemy strike during a conflict.

According to previous reports, the MiG-31K is already being refueled by a Russian Il-78 tanker in the air. Since one Il-78 or Il-78M has the capability to refuel two tactical aircraft, two MiG-31Ks can be refueled at once.

With the MiG-31 requiring up to 17,7 tons of fuel, a single Il-78M should carry enough fuel for one to three full charges.

The craft has an electronic remote control system and built-in computers that automatically align it to the desired trajectory and launch a hypersonic missile at the predetermined moment.

Russia has previously decided to fly MiG-31Is at the 2022 Victory Day Parade celebration. However, the ceremony was later canceled due to bad weather.

Later, the commander of the Russian Air Force, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Sergey Dronov, announced that the MiG-31I will be displayed at the Army 2022 international arms fair.

Similar to the MiG-31K, which has been extensively deployed by Russia in the ongoing war in Ukraine, the MiG-31I is also used as a Kinzhal carrier.

The MiG-31I may be an upgraded and modernized variant of the MiG-31K. In 2021, reports stated that Russian Aircraft Corporation, MiG, received an order to "overhaul and modernize MiG-31K aircraft to the MiG-31I variant".

It is assumed that, eventually, all variants of the MiG-31 interceptor carrying the Kinzhal will be designated MiG-31I.

An upgraded Kinzhal hypersonic missile carrier with enhanced capabilities and more time in the air may not be good news for Russia's adversaries in Europe and the United States.

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