A modernization contract was signed by the ministry and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation in December last year.
“We are planning to upgrade more than 60 MiG-31 interceptors to the MiG-31BM version by 2020,” Air Force spokesman Vladimir Drik said last week.
Relatively few MiG-31s have been modernized to the MiG-31BM version since the heavy interceptor entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1982.
The modernized version is fitted with upgraded avionics and digital data links, a new multimode radar, color multi-function cockpit displays, and a more powerful weapons-control system. It can detect airborne targets at the range of 320 kilometers (200 miles) and simultaneously track up to 10 targets.
The MiG-31BM can carry new air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles such as the AS-17 Krypton anti-radar missile.
MiG-31 interceptors are an integral part of a comprehensive aerospace defense network being created in Russia to thwart any potential airborne threats, including ballistic and cruise missiles.