General Information
Type MiG-25RB family
Function Bomber Reconnaissater
Year 1970
Crew 1
Powerplant (pre-production)
Type 2*R-15B-300
Thrust (a/b) 2*10200kg
Powerplant (series)
Type 2*R-15BD-300
Thrust (a/b) 2*11200kg
Length 21.55m
Height 6.5m
Wingspan 13.42m
Wing area 61.4m2
Vertical tail area 16.0m2
Horizontal tail area 9.81m2
Weights and loads
Empty 20,755kg
Normal Loaded 37000kg
Max. Loaded 41200kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 671
at 0m M=0.98
Maximum permitted M=2.83
at 13000m 3000km/h
Takeoff 360km/h
Landing 290km/h
Landing (with brake chute) 800m
Takeoff 1250m
Range (no external tank)
Supersonic 1635km
Subsonic 1865km
Range (with external tank)
Supersonic 2130km
Subsonic 2400km
Flight Endurance 2h5min
Maximum 23000m
Service 21000m
Climb (clean)
19000m 6.6min
Climb (with 2000kg bombs)
19000m 8.2min
Fuel (internal) 15245kg
Fuel (external) 4370kg
Normal 4000kg
or 8*FAB-500M-62
or 1*nuclear
Overload 5000kg
SLAR, ELINT and reconnaissance gear, depending on version

MiG-25RB reconnaissater-bomber family, A.I.Mikoyan/M.I.Gurevich (Foxbat B,D)

MiG-25RB on approach
34k aircraft of MiG-25RB family on landing approach, photo may be found on MiG-25 interceptor and many other on the Web.

In 1970 Gorky Aviation Plant started production of the MiG-25RB. Radio-electronic equipment was identical to earlier MiG-25R reconnaissater, but was fitted with pair of narrow-field high resolution photocameras AFA A-72. Gathering of electronic information was performed by SPS-4A(B) "Virage" receivers, while the ECM protection was provided by SPS-141 "Siren".

But unlike the predecessors, MiG-25RB became the first aircraft of the MiG-25 family capable to attack ground targets. In supersonic configuration, four bomb racks (two under fuselage, one under each wing, two bombs on each) could accommodate up to eight 500kg bombs - or single nuclear device could be carried under fuselage.

Efforts to increase the total bomb load to 5000kg resulted in configuration with ten FAB-500M-62 bombs (6 under fuselage, 2 under each wing). But this load put too much stress on the plane: on subsonic speed the wing was overloaded, while flight with M>0.9 overstressed air intakes. As partial solution to the problem, some MiG-25RBs had enlarged area of the air intake upper plate.

During aircraft production fuel tanks in the tailfins were deleted. Optional dropable 5300l underbelly tank could be used to extend the range, but it was rarely used (and almost never dropped). The problem was that this fuel tank did not allow to carry bombs under the fuselage.

Since single-seater MiG-25RB carried unguided bombs and was intended to operate at high speeds and altitude, it received an advanced aiming system (chronologically: 'Pelleng-D', 'Pelleng-DR' and latest 'Pelleng-DM'), which included high-precision navigation system ('Anis-8'), Doppler correction system DISS-3S (later DISS-7) and "Orbita-155" computer. System allowed autopilot to perform completely automatic navigation to the target and release of the ordnance.

After two years MiG-25RB was replaced on production lines by MiG-25RBS variant. Here S stays for special side-view radar 'Sablya' (new modular design). This aircraft differs by smaller nose cone and very large radiotransparent windows on the sides of nose section. SPS-142 electronic jammer was added to improve MiG-25RBS defence. Armament was identical to the MiG-25RB.

In late 80's one series MiG-25RBS was converted into testbed for in-air refueling system. This equipment shared room in the nose section with reconnaissance suite. Trials were performed with Il-78 tanker. Front line Su-24M could also be used for MiG-25RBS refueling if fitted with the UPAZ-A refueling gear.

Mig-25RBS at Khodynka
41k MiG-25RBS, preserved at Khodynka (Frunze) Airfield Paul Nann (see more of his photos)

Efforts on MiG-25RBS in-flight refueling were put to the end when Su-24MR bomber/recce demonstrated superior flight range.

Production of MiG-25RBS ceased in 1977, some aircraft passed through electronics upgrades during service time.

MiG-25RBK entered production together with MiG-25RBS, but was built until 1980. This aircraft role was shifted towards radio-electronic reconnaissance. Photoequipment was partially removed and transparent windows were covered with metal plates. Instead, "Kub-3M" (Cube-3M) electronic package was added, providing the 'K' for designation.

Avionics of the MiG-25RBK was upgraded to one of new generation in 1981.At the same time "Kub-3M" system was replaced by new one (unspecified type), and upgraded planes became MiG-25RBF.

MiG-25RBV designation appeared in 1978. It was equipped with new receiving station SPS-9 (also named "Virage") and SPS-141 countermeasures system was replaced by SPS-151 "Lutik". Recently SPS-9 system was retrofitted to all MiG-25RB still in service.

MiG-25RBN differs from standard MiG-25RB/RBV by special Night-vision cameras AFA NA-75. Another variant with "Tangazhe" receiver was designatedMiG-25RBT and put in production in 1978.

MiG-25RBS service revealed that 'Sablya' side-view radar was too complex to operate by single pilot/operator. In 1981 part of MiG-25RBS received new RLS BO "Shar" ("Globe") and corresponding designation MiG-25RBSh.

Export version of MiG-25RB was fitted with downgraded (simplified) weapons control system. This variant was supplied to Algeria (30), Iraq (8), Lybia (5), Syria (8), India (6) and Bulgaria (3). Mountaneous Bulgaria found MiG-25RB unsuitable and replaced them by MiG-23BNs. Iraqi MiG-25RB were used for high speed/altitude attacks against Iran oil terminals.

In March 1971 two MiG-25RB (0402 and 0601) together with two MiG-25R (0501 and 0504) were delivered by An-22 to Cairo West airport to reinforce Egypt airdefences. In May after accommodation period those aircraft (with Soviet crews) joined combat service. Missions were performed at altitudes 22 to 23km and speeds above M=2.5. At this speed Israel's "Mirages" and "Phantoms" posed no danger to 25s (according to regiment commander Col. A.Bezhevets, they were as good as sleepy fish).

But during takeoff and landing hostile aircraft performed certain danger, and four MiG-21 had to stay in the air to keep Israelis away. Regular presence "Mirages" or "Phantoms" during MiG-25 'takeoff ritual' looked suspicious, and Soviet personal decided to perform takeoff without notifying Egyptian personal (say during 'routine engine check'). According to P.Shengelaya, after first such a takeoff 'all ground personal was running for a telephone'.

First MiG-25RB was lost in combat during Iraq-Iran 1980- 1988 conflict (8 machines involved). Some role in loss was played by overconfidence and poor mission planning: Iraqi planes used same route and same hours to attack Iran's oil terminals, and one of them was shot down by Iran's "Hawk" SAM. In 1985 pilot abandoned his plane when turbine blade disintegrated and in December 1987 another aircraft (just from repair shop) was crashed during landing.

Approximately 85 MiG-25RB of different modifications are still in service.
MiG-25R MiG-25BM radar killer (1976 MiG-25RU bomber/recce trainer (production since 1972 MiG-25RBK and MiG-25RU (Buran "02" and "01" flying labs)
  • MiG-25 and its modifications (Russian)
  • "OKB MiG - a history of the design bureau and its aircraft" by Piotr Butowski and Jay Miller, pp107-115,202-209;
  • MiG-25 detailed information
  • MiG-25R and variants
  • MiG-25 (E.Gustin)
  • MiG-25 Foxbat Mikojan/Gurjevič, SSSR
  • Technische Daten der MiG-25
  • Indian Air Force MiGs
  • MiG-25 interceptor
  • MiG-25RB Foxbat-B
  • MiG-25
  • Mikoyan Gourevitch Mig-25 Foxbat
  • Photos by Paul Nann
  • Iraq aircraft at Jane's
  • IAF Recce Intrusion
  • Created March 2, 2000
    Alexandre Savine
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