As early as 1965, when the MiG-25 interceptor was in  the midst of its test program, the Mikoyan Design Bureau  started work on an even more capable two-seat interceptor  meant to provide adequate protection for the huge  expanses of Siberia and the Soviet Far East. Though  superficially resembling a MiG-25 with tandem cockpits, the  aircraft was soon designated the MiG-31. 

Initially dubbed Super Foxbat in the West but soon  renamed Foxhound, the MiG-31 first flew on 16 September  1975 and, after a five-year trials program, achieved initial  operational capability in 1980. Full-scale deliveries began in  1982 to units covering the Moscow Air Defense Zone, the  Arctic and the Far East. One of the effects was that the SR 71s now stayed away from the Soviet borders. 

Efforts to improve the Foxhound began right away. In flight refueling capability was added in 1989 to overcome  the problem of inadequate range. Next, the MiG-31B,  featuring upgraded avionics and better weapons, entered  production in 1990; existing MiG-31s were brought up to the  new standard (except for IFR capability) as the MiG-31BS.  The radically improved 'Generation 4+' MiG-31M  featuring a new WCS and new R-37 ultra-long-range AAMs  first flew in 1985 but never entered production because of  funding shortages. Today, the MiG-31s remains one of  modern Russia's key air defense assets, and new versions  keep appearing. The book gives the complete development  and service history of this remarkable aircraft and is richly  illustrated with color photos and color artwork throughout.